Playing with Fire: The State of Cyber Attacks and Cyber Warfare

Following reports of cyber-attacks targeting the New York Times in January of 2013, a secretive legal review of the powers available to the president of the United States has brought to light the option of launching preventive cyber-attacks should credible evidence indicating an impending threat against the United States surface. In this context the United States reserves the right to use cyber weaponry with or without an existing state of war. While rhetoric concerning the growth of cyber threats has grown more prominent in the last three years, this is the first instance that a state has been reported to view cyber-instruments as a “preventive” or “deterrent” option. Though heavy investments have been made in the past years, there is no empirical evidence that demonstrates that the United States intends to utilize its cyber-capabilities as announced.