Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert, Senior Fellow Rafal Rohozinski and Research Manager Masashi Crete-Nishihata have published an article in the February 2012 issue of Security Dialogue titled Cyclones in cyberspace: Information shaping and denial in the 2008 Russia–Georgia war.
While the rhetoric of cyber war is often exaggerated, there have been recent cases of international conflict in which cyberspace has played a prominent role. In this article, we analyze the impact of cyberspace in the conflict between Russia and Georgia over the disputed territory of South Ossetia in August 2008. We examine the role of strategic communications, information operations, operations in and through cyberspace, and conventional combat to account for the political and military outcomes of the conflict. The August 2008 conflict reveals some emergent issues in cyber warfare that can be generalized for further comparative research: the importance of control over the physical infrastructure of cyberspace, the strategic and tactical importance of information denial, the emergence of cyber-privateering, the unavoidable internationalization of cyber conflicts, and the tendency towards magnifying unanticipated outcomes in cyber conflicts – a phenomenon we call ‘cyclones in cyberspace’.
Read the full article here [registration required].