What Is It Not?
Okay, we have a definition of cyber war, but what are other forms of cyber threats that would not fit into the definition of cyber warfare? Here’s a list of some online threats that I don’t feel fall into the warfare category:
- Cyber vandalism: This is primarily the "script kiddies" that consider defacing a website to be "hacking." I think of this as electronic graffiti. This is low-level harassment.
- Civil disobedience or hactivism: Hacktivism or
Electronic Civil Disobedience (ECD) generally takes some form of Denial
of Service (DoS) attack against the website of some target, usually political in
Those who consider themselves hactivists claim that hacktivism is the fusion of hacking and activism; politics and technology. More specifically, hacktivism is described as hacking for a political cause.
Furthermore, hacktivists claim that Electronic Civil Disobedience (ECD) is a legitimate form of nonviolent, direct action utilized to bring pressure on institutions engaged in unethical or criminal actions.
Within the electronic environment, ECD aims to disrupt the operation of information and capital flows of carefully selected target sites without causing serious damage.
- Cyber crime: Cyber crime can take many different forms; theft of intellectual property, extortion based on the threat of DDOS attacks, fraud based on identity theft, espionage, and so on.
While each of these types of activities is criminal in nature and might constitute an aspect of cyber warfare actions, they do not constitute cyber war by themselves. These actions, while criminal in nature, are generally not going to cost lives or affect military operations.