Cyberwar brings a whole new meaning to virtual reality.
The protection of cyberspace, the information medium, has become a vital national interest because of its importance both to the economy and to military power. An attacker may tamper with networks to steal information for money or to disrupt operations. Future wars are likely to be carried out, in part or perhaps entirely, in cyberspace. It might therefore seem obvious that maneuvering in cyberspace is like maneuvering in other media, but nothing would be more misleading. Cyberspace has its own laws. It is easy to hide identities and difficult to predict or even understand battle damage, and attacks deplete themselves quickly. Cyberwar is nothing so much as the manipulation of ambiguity.
Martin Libicki explores these topics in detail and uses the results to address such issues as the pros and cons of counterattack, the value of deterrence and vigilance, and other actions the United States and the U.S. Air Force can take to protect itself in the face of deliberate cyberattack.
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In wrestling with how to defend a nation's information infrastructure in what appears to be a new medium of warfare, it is tempting to apply the historic tenets of deterrence and defense--but doing so is quite misleading.About the Author :
MARTIN C. LIBICKI is a senior management scientist at the Rand Corporation whose research and analysis focuses on the relationship of information technology to national and domestic security. Selected publications include How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa'ida and Conquest in Cyberspace: National Security and Information Warfare. He previously taught at the National Defense University and received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1978.
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