Much virtual ink has been spent in describing the breaking of hostilities between Google and the Chinese government, after the search engine company claimed that it had been the victim of a targeted attack in order to obtain information about Chinese dissidents. In condemning the attack, Google clearly pointed an accusatory finger at the Chinese government, and has taken the incident so seriously that it has gone as far as to claim that it is willing to abandon the Chinese market altogether.

Superlatives fail me when trying to describe the current situation. This is big, huge,massive, gigantic, humongous, gargantuan,  gigaplectic, fantabigantuan… you get the picture. Everything about this story seems like the plot from a cheap international intrigue thriller. What has really caught my eye is that for the first time cyberwarfare infrastructure has been used against individual targets, instead of institutional and corporate attacks.

Whatever happens as the result of the current dispute, it seems like cyberwarfare has made it to the forefront of commercial relations, and it may prove to be the event that will translate into wider recognition of cyberwarfare as a recognised phenomenon in international law.

Should we start thinking of a cyberwarfare convention? Are we about to experience a Cyber Cold War?

1 Comment


Lilian Edwards · January 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Actually there was already quite a lot of activity on a possible "cyberwar" convention beofre this. The usual problem however is attribution – how can you seperate a state attack from a random gang of moldovan bot herders? Usually, with great difficulty. This case is a bit unusual.

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