Reducing Systemic Cybersecurity Risk




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It is unlikely that there will ever be a true cyberwar. The reasons are: many critical computer systems are protected against known exploits and malware so that designers of new cyberweapons have to identify new weaknesses and exploits; the effects of cyberattacks are difficult to predict – on the one hand they may be less powerful than hoped but may also have more extensive outcomes arising from the interconnectedness of systems, resulting in unwanted damage to perpetrators and their allies. More importantly, there is no strategic reason why any aggressor would limit themselves to only one class of weaponry.

However the deployment of cyberweapons is already widespread use and in an extensive range of circumstances. Cyberweapons include: unauthorised access to systems ('hacking'), viruses, worms, trojans, denial-of-service, distributed denial of service using botnets, root-kits and the use of social engineering. Outcomes can include: compromise of confidentiality / theft of secrets, identity theft, web-defacements, extortion, system hijacking and service blockading.
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