Cyber Operations: Defending Political IT-Infrastructures

Policy Brief

A comparative problem analysis supported by the Transatlantic Cyber Forum

The analysis focuses on the response to cyber operations against political IT-infrastructures. The attacks against the Democratic National Committee (US) and Parliament (GER) are the case studies used as basis for this research. Core elements of the analysis are the liaison of the relevant stakeholders inside and outside of the cyber security architecture, the attribution of cyber operations as well as the effectiveness of previous responses. The working hypothesis is that Germany and the United States should adapt and implement different aspects outlined in deterrence theory in order to prevent future (successful) cyber operations against their political IT-infrastructures. Deterrence does have an ambivalent past but it seems to be might be prudent to revisit and adapt it not only to the cyber domain - but specifically to cyber operations against political IT-infrastructures. Those results which form the foundation for the upcoming recommendations drafted by the working group are:

  1. Protecting the political IT-infrastructure (“deterrence-by-denial”);
  2. Assessing options for show of force (“deterrence- by-retaliation”);
  3. Relying on international relations (“deterrence- by-norms”/ “-entanglement”);
  4. Analyzing the pre-condition attribution.
June 28, 2017

Dr. Sven Herpig (Project Lead Transatlantic Cyber Forum)