Towards cyberpeace managing cyberwar through international cooperation.

Author:Taliharm, Anna-Maria

The ubiquitous use of information and communication technologies (ICT) serves both as an enabler of growth and innovation as well as the source of asymmetrical cyberthreats. Around the globe, about 2 million people are connected to the Internet, and the use of the Internet and ICT-enabled services is becoming more and more an indispensible part of our everyday lives. With the increasing dependence on ICT and the interlinked nature with critical infrastructure, we have become alarmingly vulnerable to possible disruption and exploitation by malicious cyberactivities.

Malicious cyberactivities have been affecting individuals, private entities, government institutions and non-governmental organizations for years. We have witnessed large-scale cyber-incidents such as in Estonia in 2007, with numerous sophisticated targeted attacks, hacictivism and countless instances of identity theft and malware. Due to the unpredictable nature of cyberthreats, an incident that may appear in the beginning as an act of hacktivism or financially motivated cybercrime may rapidly escalate into something much more serious and reach the threshold of national security, even cyberwar.

Despite the lack of consensus on exactly what constitutes cyberwarfare or cyberterrorism, governments need to ensure that their infrastructure is well protected against different types of cyberthreats and that their legal and policy frameworks would allow to effectively prevent, deter, defend and mitigate possible cyberattacks. Not being able to agree on common definitions of central terms such as "cyberattack" and "cyberwar" should not prevent states from expressing the urgency of preparing their nations for possible cyberincidents.


The logic of international cooperation and collaboration lies on why, when, and how to collaborate, and generally takes place in order to follow one's interests or to manage common aversions. (1) In the context of cybersecurity, the need for international cooperation between states, international and regional organizations and other entities is emphasized by the borderless and increasingly sophisticated nature of cyberthreats. Principally, any actor, whether it is a country or a non-governmental organization, following its objectives in cybersecurity requires cooperation from a wide range of international partners. In fact, much of the international collaboration will occur outside specific national frameworks, emphasizing the Whole...

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