Debate: The Pentagon's strategy to use cyberwarfare in conflicts with enemies is necessary.

PRO

Mike Lloyd, CTO, RedSeal 

The Pentagon cybersecurity strategy document just states clearly what was already an open secret – cyber weapons exist, and have a significant role in modern warfare, and that we are likely to use them when challenged. Every weapon humans have made has been used sooner or later, and there is no reason to believe the online world is an exception. There may be no clear “Cyber Pearl Harbor” event to mark the outbreak of cyber war. Today's reality has a closer analogy to naval piracy than to World War II – rather than a great conflict of warring nations, piracy was a scourge based in lawless areas, but that represented a steady back-pressure on prosperity, security and trade. Eventually, military means had to be used – cracking down with force on piracy. (Pirates themselves were often state-sanctioned “terrorists,” in modern terms – we have close analogs of this in today's cyber environment.) We face and will face online adversaries ranging from individuals to state-supported pirates, and possibly eventually full-on wars between countries. In that environment, the use of cyber offensive capabilities is inevitable.”

CON

Adam Kujawa, head of malware intelligence, Malwarebytes Labs

The most surprising aspect of this strategy is that the government, having listened to the concerns from all levels of government and society, will be transparent in discussion of their cyber offensive measures. The one thing that needs to be considered, however, is that while there may be a lot of information, from a high level, about operations, we will most likely not be privy to actual tools / exploits / malware / infection means that the government will utilize against its adversaries. At the end of the day our involvement online goes beyond just the causal entertainment or work needs -- we live our lives online, more than ever before. Because of this, the cyber world should be considered a theatre where operations can take place. St the same time, we might know that operations are being done in a specific country but the exact operations, on a deep and secure level, will remain secret until time has passed that the information can be discussed without potentially endangering operations or operators.”

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