Casualties of Cyber Warfare

August 25, 2014

Cameron Stevens

That the United States and China have engaged in skirmishes in the cyber domain is no secret. Since the beginning of the 21st century, targeted cyberattacks, often with signs of Chinese origin, have attempted to penetrate the computer networks of U.S. corporations and government agencies in search of potentially valuable information. In response to this new strategic threat, the U.S. Military’s Strategic Command commissioned the creation of a sub-unified Cyber Command in 2009, with one of its stated objectives being the “defense of specified Department of Defense information networks.”

U.S. President Barack Obama very clearly defined the threat that cyberattacks pose to the economy, in both the public and private sectors, when he said that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.” Indeed, conflict in the cyber domain is still having some serious repercussions for the business world.

Civilian Involvement in Cyber Warfare

The characteristic of cyber warfare that makes it so uniquely dangerous to the corporate sector is that military power in the cyber domain must be extended through computer networks provided and maintained by non-governmental bodies. The use of these networks for cyberattacks or defense requires the conscription or cooperation of civilian resources. This creates extreme liabilities for the corporations that provide these networks, as they will quickly become the targets of suspicion and possible retaliation from the enemy state. In recent years, both Chinese and American companies have been caught in just this situation.