Is Cyber Warfare an Alternative?
The possibility of using computerized means in offensive action against civilian or military installations from enemy countries is a real. Given the potential of this type of action, they can be seen by many countries as interesting, and as an alternative to conventional kinetic warfare. Despite its many theoretical advantages, obtaining the cyber capabilities needed to implement cyber military units is not easy and may not be within reach of any country. The necessary financial means may not be a major obstacle to this achievement because they are relatively low, when compared to those necessary to obtain conventional means. Similarly, obtaining a support infrastructure is also not theoretically difficult. However, obtaining both human and technological resources, other than those related to the support infrastructure, may not be available to any country, namely the designated zero-day exploits, ZDE, that are needed to explore computer vulnerabilities in informatics systems of the other countries. There are other types of constraints, time needed to prepare the means and the planning and development of cyber actions, type of targets to be attained, specificity of computer systems and even the possible need for cyber media complementarity with conventional means that can be limiting and impede their widespread use. Thus, cyber warfare is a very interesting alternative, but given these constraints and limitations, it may not be a real viable alternative to be used in all situations and by all countries.
KeywordsCyber warfare Cyber weapons Cyber capability Zero-day exploits
I thank the Portuguese National Defense Institute as well as the ISEC/IPC for the support and facilities granted.
This paper is based on the work Final Report of National Defense Course, done by the author in the Portuguese National Defense Institute.
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