Security and Defence


Foreign policy instruments to increase future cybersecurity

18 Aug 2016 - 12:20
Source: Blue Coat Photos /

Predicting the future is hardly possible, but stating that cyber aggression - be it espionage, sabotage or even warfare - will be a continuing threat to international security and stability in the coming years seems a safe forecast. This book chapter deals with the question of how states can cope with this forecast from a foreign policy perspective, focussing on cyber aggression conducted or sponsored by state actors.

Defence and deterrence, which could be labelled passive deterrence and active deterrence as well, are probably the most ‘obvious’ counter-measures to international cyber aggression that a state could implement. This chapter especially analyses why defence and deterrence look like promising policies, but in practice face some difficulties in the cyber realm.

Diplomatic efforts to create Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and international accepted norms regarding cyberthreats could be more effective in actively addressing the core problems of international cyber aggression, but are little successful so far. The chapter argues that such multilateral diplomatic efforts are crucial for long-term cybersecurity and stability. Instead of an on-going ‘cyber arms race’, efforts could better be focussed on building mutual confidence and respect as well.

This chapter, fully titled ‘Defence, deterrence, and diplomacy: Foreign policy instruments to increase future cyber security’, was published in the book: Cherian Samuel & Munish Sharma (eds.), Securing cyberspace. International and Asian perspectives (Pentagon Press, New Delhi 2016) 95-105. An E-copy of the book is available here.