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Behind the Mask – Attribution of antagonists in cyberspace and its implications on international conflicts and security issues
STRANNE, FRIDA, BILSTRUP, URBAN, EWERTSSON, LENA
Cyber systems and critical infrastructure are changing the dynamics of international conflicts, security issues, and challenge traditional ways of understanding warfare. Early warning and attribution of who is accountable for a cyber-attack and what is the intention with the attack is crucial information. To be able to efficiently response to a cyber-antagonist the measure of response must be decided at network speed, which is far beyond what is possible with traditional attribution methods. The ongoing “cyber arm raze” push towards the development and use of autonomous cyber response systems. An autonomous cyber response would most probably use the complexity of attack vector as a tool for attribution, not considering the identity of the antagonist for deciding the measure of response. This will challenge traditional ways of understanding conflict, war, and how nation states handle different kinds of aggressions. This leads to a new kind of deterrence increasing the need to theorize cyber conflicts, as well as empirically study how different actors are acting and reacting in relation to this new threat. This paper initiates the discourse on the implications of the use of autonomous cyber response systems for the international system/relations.