The Disruptive Impact of the Cyber Domain on International Security Policy

Michael Zinkanell, David Kirsch: The Disruptive Impact of the Cyber Domain on International Security Policy, AIES Fokus 4/2021



Every second, 127 new devices are accessing the world wide web for the first time, while estimates suggest that the total number of appliances connected to the internet, including cars, fridges, smartphones, and watches, amounted to more than 31 billion in late 2020. The global data chain of the internet grows by 2,500,000,000 GB daily. The evolution of information technology not only contributes to an innovative way of work and life, igniting the digital transformation of businesses, but also triggers new wide-ranging challenges for security policy. What started with the invention of the telegraph in 1844, the numerical computer in 1949, and the first version of the internet initially launched by the US Department of Defense in 1969, which was subsequently called ARPANET in 1983, has indeed caused new strategic implications for the nation state on a remarkable scale.5 Today, the advancement of digital technologies affects various political systems and stakeholders around the globe, as the dependency on and influence of digitalisation are omnipresent and directly connected to economic growth as well as decision-making processes. Additionally, the growing importance and sophistication of cyber-warfare as well as conflicts being conducted in the cyber-sphere continue to produce unprecedented novel dilemmas and security challenges for the security establishment.

This analysis seeks to shed light on various selected and highly relevant difficulties related to the issues of cyber diplomacy, hybrid warfare, and international relations. The authors will briefly depict a short definition of what is and what is not cyber by drawing parallels between common cyber conflicts and regular conventional disputes. Subsequently, the authors aim to illustrate how the cyber domain has fundamentally challenged national and international security policy. Finally, there will be a short outlook on the current challenges in the cyber-sphere that are being amplified by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – causing severe headache within the security establishment.

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