Who did it? Attribution is fundamental. Human lives and the security of the state may depend on ascribing agency to an agent. In the context of computer network intrusions, attribution is commonly seen as one of the most intractable technical problems, as either solvable or not solvable, and as dependent mainly on the available forensic evidence. But is it? Is this a productive understanding of attribution? — This article argues that attribution is what states make of it. To show how, we introduce the Q Model: designed to explain, guide, and improve the making of attribution.
In Japanese: Thomas Rid and Ben Buchanan (translated by Motohiro Tsuchiya), “Cyber Kogeki wo Okonau no ha Dare ka (Attributing Cyber Attacks),” Senryaku Kenkyu (Journal of Strategic Studies), 18, 2016, 59-98. (Japanese PDF)
In Chinese: translated by a government-affiliated entity in Beijing (Chinese PDF).
Rid, T. Cyber War Will Not Take Place, London: Hurst/Oxford University Press (2013) 256p
‘This book will be welcomed by all those who have struggled to get the measure of the “cyber war” threat. As Thomas Rid takes on the digital doomsters he also provides a comprehensive, authoritative and sophisticated analysis of the strategic quandaries created by new technologies.’ Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies, King’s College London and author of Strategy: A History
‘Thomas Rid provides an unusually level-headed view of where we are in the cyber arms race. This book nips in the bud the loose talk of cyber war and illustrates what’s really happening. Anyone involved in building defences against future attacks should read this book first.’ Mikko Hypponen, virus analyst and Chief Research Officer, F-Secure
‘We’re in the early years of a cyber war arms race, one fuelled both by fear and ignorance. This book is a cogent counterpoint to both the doomsayers and profiteers, and should be required reading for anyone concerned about our national security policy in cyberspace.’ Bruce Schneier, security guru and author of Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Thrive
‘With news of cyber war, terrorism and espionage seemingly everywhere, separating hype from reality is not always easy. Many agencies and companies stand to gain by inflating cyber security fears. Thomas Rid takes a razor to the evidence and carefully dissects the evolution of conflict and espionage in the cyber age. The result is a compelling and authoritative take on war and strategy in cyberspace, one that will surely be seminal in this area for years to come.’ Ronald J. Deibert, Citizen Lab Director, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto and author of Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace
‘Cyber war is coming,’ announced a landmark RAND report in 1993. In 2005, the U.S. Air Force boasted it would now fly, fight, and win in cyberspace, the ‘fifth domain’ of warfare. This book takes stock, twenty years on: is cyber war really coming? Has war indeed entered the fifth domain?
Cyber War Will Not Take Place cuts through the hype and takes a fresh look at cyber security. Thomas Rid argues that the focus on war and winning distracts from the real challenge of cyberspace: non-violent confrontation that may rival or even replace violence in surprising ways.
The threat consists of three different vectors: espionage, sabotage, and subversion. The author traces the most significant hacks and attacks, exploring the full spectrum of case studies from the shadowy world of computer espionage and weaponised code. With a mix of technical detail and rigorous political analysis, the book explores some key questions: What are cyber weapons? How have they changed the meaning of violence? How likely and how dangerous is crowd-sourced subversive activity? Why has there never been a lethal cyber attack against a country’s critical infrastructure? How serious is the threat of ‘pure’ cyber espionage, of exfiltrating data without infiltrating humans first? And who is most vulnerable: which countries, industries, individuals?