Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


05:00 PM
Gadi Evron
Gadi Evron
Connect Directly

The Myth Of Cyberattack Deterrence

Deterrence online is one of the biggest idiocies of the past couple of years. There are some interesting research possibilities in the subject matter, but not as it is portrayed today -- a cure-all strategy.

Deterrence online is one of the biggest idiocies of the past couple of years. There are some interesting research possibilities in the subject matter, but not as it is portrayed today -- a cure-all strategy.I covered this subject on Dark Reading before, discussing the supposed NSA computer attacks activity in Iraq, the NSA director's comments on the subject before the Senate, and the damage of engaging in DDoS.

Strategic experts are very comfortable with Cold War strategy following around 70 years of practicing it, so when asked to deal with the Internet, they ran to deterrence.

In order to have deterrence, you require first an ability to respond to an attack. On the Internet, you may never find out who is attacking you, and data may be intentionally misleading when you think you do have some bread crumbs.

It is just virtually impossible to tell who is behind an attack from technical data alone.

Thus, deterrence against whom?

You may say that by setting an occasional example, it doesn't matter who you attack. That is mostly false as well.

If we do know who is attacking us, then consider the players can now be (and indeed are) unaffiliated individuals or groups who may not care about the infrastructure of the country they are in nor have any infrastructure to speak of (which can in turn be targeted). Any attack will likely be against a third-party that has been hacked, i.e. compromised.

And if you're dealing with large-scale attacks, such as DDoS, responding in kind (with DDoS, botnets, etc.) will also hurt the Internet itself with collateral damage.

There are some particular instances where deterrence does work online, and it may also be used as a general addition to real-world deterrence (we have cyberweapons -- beware!), but these are just points that would muddy the water in the wider argument before us.

I think supporting such folly is generally folly itself. For further reading, I'd point you to this comprehensive and quite excellent document: "Cyber Deterrence and Cyber War," by Martin C. Libicki.

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron.

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading. Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for ... View Full Bio


Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Digital Clones Could Cause Problems for Identity Systems
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  8/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
A local, arbitrary code execution vulnerability exists in the SplitCompat.install endpoint in Android's Play Core Library versions prior to 1.7.2. A malicious attacker could create an apk which targets a specific application, and if a victim were to install this apk, the attacker could perform a dir...
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability was discovered in the System Management Interface Web component of Avaya Aura Communication Manager and Avaya Aura Messaging. This vulnerability could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to perform Web administration actions with the privileged ...
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
An issue was discovered in certain configurations of GNOME gnome-shell through 3.36.4. When logging out of an account, the password box from the login dialog reappears with the password still visible. If the user had decided to have the password shown in cleartext at login time, it is then visible f...
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
django-celery-results through 1.2.1 stores task results in the database. Among the data it stores are the variables passed into the tasks. The variables may contain sensitive cleartext information that does not belong unencrypted in the database.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
There is a possible out of bounds read due to an incorrect bounds check.Product: AndroidVersions: Android SoCAndroid ID: A-152225183