world war E
dispatches from the network society

estonia’s opening act

The IHT enters the fray by heralding “In Estonia, what may be the first war in cyberspace.”

While Estonia may be the opening act of state-centred cyberwarfare, cyber-battles are ongoing along multiple fronts, in multiple geographic and virtual territories, as the posts on this blog show. Indeed, Estonia’s plight captures the media attention precisely because it raises anxieties over the combination of cyber-warfare and state capacity.

To date, the primary concern (especially since 9/11) has been the scalar impact of cyber-attacks by non-state actors such as terrorists and criminal syndicates. In 2002, for instance, analysts raised concerns that cyber-assaults on communications infrastructure could be used in tandem with a destructive attack (a la 9/11 or a bombing) to effectively neutralize emergency response capability and maximize casualties. Analyses also revealed the relative vulnerability of core infrastructure like hydroelectric dams to cyber-attacks.

Now, in the paradigm of World War E, the anonymity afforded states by the internet constitutes a new battleground where, as Clauswitz famously said, politics can be continued by other means.

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