Cyberwarfare…   no comments

Posted at 11:41 am in Economics,Politics

The issue of cyber-warfare is an increasingly topical one, as indicated by its high profile presence in the news the morning of our first COMP6044 lecture, hence my choosing of it as the issue to focus on for the interdisciplinary learning. The news that morning was focused on the Stuxnet virus, a complex and inherently suspicious virus, designed to target systems not connected to the Internet, and its effects on the Iranian civil nuclear programme (Radio 4 Today article). As this issue emerges from the realms of science fiction to reality, I intend to look into the effects it may have have on society, through the disciplines of Economics and Politics.

The first subject, Economics, can be viewed from two viewpoints. Both the Economics from the aggressors point of view and the victim’s. Wtih cyber-ware being conducted in virtual worlds, does this make warfare much cheaper to conduct than the more conventional methods and what effects might this have? Will conducting warfare become something that is much more readily pursued than traditional warfare if the costs of starting a war are much lower? Also will this have an effect on the structure and focus of a nation’s economy as a whole with less money being spent on conventional forces and more being redirected to research into cyber-warfare and cyber terrorism? From the victim’s point of view, what effects can a cyber-attack have on an economy? With infrastructure such as power stations and possibly airports being targeted, how might this damage an economy and what lasting effects may it leave in its wake?

Politics also comes into play, in particular the area of International Relations. Cyber-warfare gives politicians new avenues of attacking or maybe even controlling external powers. Cyber-warfare also allows for a certain degree of anonymity allowing one nation to effect another without the source of the attack being known. How might this affect international relations both with allies and enemies? Will the new and potential future developments lead to relations changing in unforeseen and unpredictable manners? Also cyber-warfare may allow for many such developments to remain hidden from the general public, allowing politicians to keep (more) secrets from those that elected them into power.

What’s evident from the range of questions brought up here (and there are many more not covered in this blog post) is that cyber-warfare covers an awful lot of areas in these two disciplines alone (not to mention many other disciplines that could also be looked at). In the hope of possibly answering some of these questions however I aim to look into some books covering the basics of Economics and economic infrastructure as well as the economic motives behind international relationships. From a Politics perspective I shall aim to read into the world of International Relations and the scientific theories that help to explain them.


Written by William Fyson on October 26th, 2010

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