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Conceptualising cyber arms races

Craig, Anthony and Valeriano, Brandon 2016. Conceptualising cyber arms races. Presented at: 8th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, Tallinn, Estonia, 1-3 June 2016. Proceedings of the 2016 8th International Conference on Cyber Conflict. NATO, pp. 141-158.

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This paper investigates the emergence of an arms racing dynamic in the international cyber domain. The numerous claims made of an ongoing cyber arms race by the media and other analysts have not been backed up by careful empirical analysis. Characterised by the competitive and rapid mutual build-up of capabilities between pairs of states, arms races are a long standing aspect of study in international relations, with statistical evidence suggesting a relationship between these factors and war. Our work extends the tradition of arms race scholarship to the field of cyber security by providing a methodology for accounting for the build-up of cyber capabilities by nation states. We examine the concept of the cyber arms race and provide a plausibility probe for a macro study by examining the cases of the United States and Iran, and of North Korea and South Korea. We employ time series data on a number of indicators to measure each state’s scale of increase in cyber capabilities, before investigating whether the states in question are directing their efforts against one another. Our findings suggest that these state dyads have indeed been engaged in cyber arms races, as defined by their competitive and above-normal mutual increase in cyber capabilities. This work furthers our understanding of state behaviour in the cyber domain, and our methodology helps to establish a pathway for the future extensive data collection of this new phenomenon.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Publisher: NATO
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Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 June 2016
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 03:03

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