Cyber Blockades

Cyber Blockades

Alison Lawlor Russell
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Cyber Blockades
    Book Description:

    Cyber Blockadesis the first book to examine the phenomena of blockade operations in cyberspace, large-scale attacks on infrastructure or systems that aim to prevent an entire state from sending or receiving electronic data. Cyber blockades can take place through digital, physical, and/or electromagnetic means. Blockade operations have historically been considered acts of war, thus their emergence in cyberspace has significant implications for international law and for our understanding of cyber warfare.The author defines and explains the emerging concept of "cyber blockades" and presents a unique comparison of blockade operations in five different domains-on land, at sea, in the air, in space, and in cyberspace-identifying common elements as well as important distinctions. Alison Lawlor Russell's framework for defining cyber blockades, understanding how they occur, and considering the motivations of actors who employ them is applied with in-depth analysis of the cyber attacks on Estonia in 2007 and on Georgia during the 2008 Georgia-Russia War.Blockade operations have occurred in cyberspace and will doubtlessly be used again in the future, by both state and non-state actors alike, because of the unique advantages of this type of attack. This book offers recommendations for policymakers contemplating or confronted by such attacks.Cyber Blockadesis also a must-read for scholars and students of security studies, terrorism, substate groups, and the future of warfare.

    eISBN: 978-1-62616-113-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables and Figure
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Abbreviations and Acronyms
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. CHAPTER 1 Networks of Power in the Information Society
    (pp. 1-11)

    All of a sudden and without warning, cyberspace shut down. At first, people noticed that their desktops, laptops, and tablets were not responding to search requests or pinging with incoming email. Then they realized their smartphones had no data reception and no telephone service. Landlines (the plain, old telephone service) did not work either. The electrical grid and other basic services were compromised, affecting virtually everything, from digitally programmed home thermostats to gas stations to power plants to water treatment facilities. Financial markets cannot operate without a reliable connection to cyberspace, so the stock market closed early. Navigation and monitoring...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Theorizing about Cyberspace
    (pp. 12-33)

    Cyberspace functions independently of other domains, but it is also a force multiplier that can enhance the power of actions taken in other domains.¹ Dominance in cyberspace can improve the performance of operations in other domains, but the loss of dominance can negate or diminish capabilities in other domains as well. Also, unlike other domains where the blessings of geography have given some states natural advantages over others, there are no natural advantages to any state in the domain of cyberspace; the only advantages are those earned through investment and ingenuity.² Furthermore, the cost associated with entry to the cyber...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Evolution of Blockades in Different Domains
    (pp. 34-68)

    Blockades occur in different environments and for a variety of reasons; and they are not always called “blockades.” It is therefore necessary to look at the full spectrum of blockades in other domains before analyzing recent cyber blockade operations. Blockades are not static; rather, they have evolved significantly over time and with expansion to new domains. Each domain has its own terminology, distinctive physical features, and operating procedures, but whereas every domain is unique, collectively they share a common logic, present a common security environment, and can be mutually supportive of operations in the other domains. Thus, it is important...

  9. CHAPTER 4 Cyber Attacks on Estonia
    (pp. 69-95)

    The cyber attacks on Estonia in April and May of 2007 were unprecedented in their scope and intensity. They were the first widespread distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to target the government and key services and industries of a nation-state and, as a result, they are frequently referred to as the first cyber war.

    The cyber attacks on Estonia prevented major sectors of the Estonian government and economy from conducting daily business using the internet or cyberspace. During the attacks, a large portion of the country could not use cyberspace to send or receive information from beyond its national borders. These...

  10. CHAPTER 5 The Georgia-Russia War
    (pp. 96-127)

    The cyber attacks in Georgia in 2008 were the first time that conventional military invasion was accompanied by a large-scale cyber attack on the government and services of the country being invaded. This unprecedented move linked cyber attacks with political and military operations on the ground. This case is relevant for cyber blockades because the cyber attacks were designed to cut off Georgia’s ability to communicate and exchange information using cyber technology within and beyond its borders during a war. As such, it is a good test case for the proposed theory of cyber blockades.

    This chapter examines the cyber...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Comparing Cyber Blockades
    (pp. 128-140)

    The preceding chapters presented a preliminary theory of blockades in cyberspace and examined the cyber attacks on Estonia in 2007 and Georgia in 2008 in light of that preliminary theory. The goals of this chapter are twofold. The first goal is to compare the cases of Estonia and Georgia to see how they differ. To this end, this chapter presents a comparative analysis of the cyber attacks on Estonia and Georgia in order to identify their similarities and differences. The second goal is to answer the questions proposed at the beginning of this research, specifically: What are cyber blockades and...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Conclusion
    (pp. 141-152)

    Cyberspace is the modern information highway, and the bits and bytes of data that pass through it every day define power relationships throughout the world. Given how ubiquitous cyberspace is in modern life, governments, militaries, financial sectors, businesses, and social organizations heavily depend on cyberspace and its technologies for their essential daily operations. This growing dependence on cyberspace for all aspects of life in modern societies and in many developing societies means that exclusion from cyberspace would have a significant, adverse impact on their governments, businesses, militaries, and people.

    Recognizing how important cyberspace is to daily life throughout the world,...

  13. Glossary
    (pp. 153-154)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 155-166)
  15. Index
    (pp. 167-175)