Book - Georgetown University Press

Understanding Cyber Conflict: 14 Analogies

  • George Perkovich
  • Ariel E. Levite
| Oct. 16, 2017


Cyber collisions are becoming more frequent and destructive.Understanding Cyber Conflict: 14 Analogies Cover From the freezing of Estonia's internet, to the sabotage of Iran's uranium enrichment program, to the hacking of the U.S. election campaign, and the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks, cyber weapons are no longer novelties. They are an increasingly prevalent and important tool of coercion.

To come to grips with the implications of cyber power, policymakers as well as scholars and average citizens naturally turn to historical comparisons. Many analogies are widely invoked — the role of railways in hastening World War I, Cold War information operations, and the use of drones in combatting terrorists are only a few. Analogies are also used to inform policies to prevent or defeat conflict: Is deterring cyber attack similar to deterring nuclear or conventional war? Could cyber-enabled economic warfare be more effective than earlier forms of economic conflict? Is it possible to effectively defend against cyber attack?

The chapters in this volume, written by eminent scholars and recent government officials, shed light on how different analogies inform and misinform our understanding of cyber weapons, cyber conflict, and emerging strategic thinking. The concluding chapter summarizes some of the unique features and challenges of cyber conflict and offers insights for policymakers around the world navigating the new cyber terrain.

For more information on this publication: Please contact International Security
For Academic Citation: Understanding Cyber Conflict: 14 Analogies. Edited by George Perkovich and Ariel E. Levite. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2017.

The Editors