5 April 2015

The Normalization of Cyber-International Relations

By Myriam Dunn Cavelty
April 2015

Has the gradual transition to cyber-based international relations had unintended consequences? Myriam Dunn Cavelty thinks so. By focusing exclusively on state-to-state relations and defending against cyber-attacks, state actors have given short shrift to other voices and the possibility of large-scale cyber-exploitation.

We have arrived in an age of mega-hacks, in which high-impact and high-attention cyberincidents are becoming the new normal. The increase in strategically consequential, targeted cyberincidents is met with intensified efforts to reduce the risk of cyberconflict through norm-building, mainly geared towards creating deterrent effects at the state level. While these new developments have an overall stabilizing effect on cyber-international relations, the narrow focus on destructive cyberattacks and on state-to-state relations is creating unintended security-reducing side-effects.

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