Why It’s So Hard to Stop a Cyber Attack — and Even Harder to Fight Back

Michael’s opinion: A very interesting comment of the Rand Corporation. Cyber War will be one of the major means used in international conflicts. I don’t think that Germany is prepared well enough. 

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Analysis by the Rand Corporation
Christopher S. Chivvis, Associate Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center; Senior Political Scientist

Introduction:
Imagine that the United States is hit by a cyber attack that takes down much of the U.S. financial infrastructure for several days. Internet sites of major banks are malfunctioning. ATMs are not working. Banks‘ internal accounting systems are going haywire. Millions of people are affected.The first question that policymakers might debate is whether such an attack deserves a military response. But several problems immediately arise. First, would the U.S. government—and specifically the National Security Agency—know for certain who had conducted the attack?

Without being able to attribute the attack, or if there were some uncertainty about who was responsible, it would be very hard to strike back. Unlike conventional attacks, cyberattacks can be difficult to attribute with precision to specific actors. In the event of a major cyberattack, the pressure to respond would be immediate—and probably intense. But if a country strikes back and the forensics are erroneous, then the retaliation will have unnecessarily and inadvertently started a war.

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