Cybersecurity's Next Phase: Cyber Deterrence

Cyber-security’s Next Phase: Cyber Deterrence

by Dorothy Denning, Scientific American

For decades, deterrence has effectively countered the threat of nuclear weapons. Can we achieve similar results against cyber weapons?

Cyber-attackers pose many threats to a wide range of targets. Russia, for example, was accused of hacking Democratic Party computers throughout the year, interfering with the U.S. presidential election. Then there was the unknown attacker who, on a single October day, used thousands of internet-connected devices, such as digital video recorders and cameras compromised by Mirai malware, to take down several high-profile websites, including Twitter.

From 2005 to 2015, federal agencies reported a 1,300 percent jump in cyber-security incidents. Clearly, we need better ways of addressing this broad category of threats. Some of us in the cyber-security field are asking whether cyber deterrence might help.

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