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[ISN] The cyber-weapons paradox: 'They're not that dangerous'



http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/24/cyber_weapons/

By Anna Leach
The Register
24th February 2012

When it comes to bombs, the more powerful they are, the bigger their impact. With a cyber-weapon, the opposite is true: the more powerful it is, the more limited the damage it causes. The deeper a bug can get into any given system, the less likely it is to trouble anything else.

And that's why cyber-weapons aren't real weapons, says Thomas Rid, a reader in War Studies at Kings College London and co-author of a new paper published today in the security journal RUSI Journal.

Rid, the war boffin who brought us the theory that cyber war wouldn't actually be war because no one gets killed, has some more soothing common sense for those worried about cyber-geddon:

    [Having] more destructive potential is likely to decrease the
    number of targets, the risk of collateral damage and the
    political utility of cyber-weapons.

Rid's point is that cyber weapons that can attack any web target tend to be low-level and quite crap: DDoS bots that can take a website offline temporarily or deface it, tools that cause inconvenience and sometimes embarrassment.

[...]


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