These threats include hacking of democratic election systems, disruptive social media campaigns, and penetration of government and economic infrastructures.
The book (published by Yale University Press) proposes a bold new strategy in addressing these threats – ‘punctuated deterrence’ – the basic premise of which is to respond to a series of attacks and their cumulative effects, rather than responding to individual attacks, as envisaged in classical deterrence theory.
Thus, rather than seeking to reply to all cyberattacks all the time, punctuated deterrence entails concentrated responses at a time of the victims' choosing and in domains where they enjoy the advantage (not necessarily cyberspace).
The book’s core message comes in the form of a lesson from history: security contests in the midst of technological disruption and geopolitical transition – as in our time – are won with superior strategy, not better technology.
It argues that to reduce the intensity of technological conflict, democratic nations have to develop more credible response strategies (for example, against Russian politically motivated hacking), while also working more closely and flexibility with technology companies to strengthen the resilience of computer systems and networks against foreign intervention.
Dr Kello said: "Although democratic nations have been winning the sprint to develop advanced technologies such as AI and quantum computing, they are losing the marathon to adapt security strategy and institutions to new inventions.
“But it's not too late. I called the book Striking Back, not Letting Go."
The book has attracted positive reviews from, among others, former GCHQ director Sir David Omand, former CIA director Leon Panetta, and renowned Russia scholar Mark Galeotti. It will appeal to anyone interested in the goals of increasing stability and reducing risk within core areas of cyberspace, especially in democratic contexts. Political thinkers and security analysts will find in it many insights on the shortcomings of current cyber strategies and policies. Practitioners in government and industry can draw from it a new perspective on how to work together to defeat sophisticated threats and to reduce cyber risks against vital systems and data.
Lucas is currently developing a new research project on outer space governance and security.
Although democratic nations have been winning the sprint to develop advanced technologies such as AI and quantum computing, they are losing the marathon to adapt security strategy and institutions to new inventions.
But it's not too late. I called the book Striking Back, not Letting Go.