Private infrastructure complicates US warfare plans - Asia Times


The tit-for-tat cyberespionage between the US and China illustrates the danger of proliferating covert cyber operations. In a 2015 article for Clingendael Institute, Sico van der Meer and Frans Paul van der Putten argued that the US retaliation approach against major cyberattacks would be detrimental to international stability.

There's current evidence for their point: The 2023 National Cybersecurity Strategy states that the US will use all instruments of national power to disrupt and dismantle actors whose actions threaten its interests. The strategy notes that these efforts may integrate diplomatic, information, military (kinetic and cyber), financial, intelligence, and law-enforcement capabilities.

Van der Meer and van der Putten cited an obvious risk of escalation, normalization of covert retaliation against governments that are suspected of being involved in cyberattacks and proliferation of cyber threat actors – making cyberspace dangerous and unstable for all.

Further, they suggested that US allies urge the US to avoid seeking cyber deterrence through retaliation against China and other countries. Instead, they suggested that the US and its partners work together to establish norms halting the proliferation of state-sponsored cyber espionage and covert cyber operations across borders, which they said would be the foundation of a genuinely effective deterrence strategy against state-sponsored cyber-attacks.

Article by Gabriel Honrada.