Cyber War Strategies and Tactics

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August 28, 2006
Starting from the basic premise that "All warfare is based on deception", the Cyberspace offers an unprecedented amount of asymmetric power to those capable of using it. Cyber wars are often perceived as innocent exchange of "virtual shots" between teenage defacement groups, whereas if one's willing the embrace the rough reality, Hacktivism remains a sub-activity of Cyberterrorism, where Information Warfare unites all these tactics.

Quality techno-thrillers often imply the notion of future warfare battles done in the virtual realm compared to actual spill of blood and body parts -- death is just an upgrade. Coming back to today's Hacktivism dominated mainstream news space, you may find this paper on Cyberwar Strategy and Tactics - An Analysis of Cyber Goals, Strategies, Tactics, and Techniques, and the development of a Cyber war Playbook, informative reading :

"To create a cyberwar playbook, we must first understand the stratagem building blocks or possible moves that are available. It is important to note however that these stratagem building blocks in and of themselves are not strategic. Instead, it is the reasoned application of one or more stratagems in accomplishing higher-level goals that is strategic in nature. We thus need to understand the situations in which the stratagems should be applied and how. We can begin to predict and choose the most effective stratagem for a given situation as we become more experienced. Example stratagems include:

Fortify Dodge
Deceive Block
Stimulate Skirt
Condition Monitor


Stratagems may also have sub-stratagems. Examples are:

Deceive.Chaff --- Block.Barricade
Deceive.Fakeout --- Block.Cutoff
Deceive.Conceal --- Monitor.Eavesdrop
Deceive.Feint --- Monitor.Watch
Deceive.Misinform
--- Monitor.Follow


These stratagems are very high level and can be supported through many tactical means. Each building block defines a stratagem and contains one or more possible tactical implementations for that stratagem, including requirements, goals that may be satisfied using the stratagem, caveats, example uses, and possible countermeasures."

No matter the NCW doctrine, UAVs intercepting or hijacking signals, "shock and awe" still dazzles the majority of prone to be abused by cheap PSYOPS masses of "individuals".

Related resources and posts:
Network Centric Warfare basics back in 1995
Information Warfare
Cyber Warfare
Who's Who in Cyber Warfare?
North Korea's Cyber Warfare Unit 121
Hacktivism Tensions - Israel vs Palestine Cyberwars
Achieving Information Warfare Dominance Back in 1962

About the author

Dancho Danchev is the world's leading expert in the field of cybercrime fighting and threat intelligence gathering having actively pioneered his own methodlogy for processing threat intelligence leading to a successful set of hundreas of high-quality anaysis and research articles published at the industry's leading threat intelligence blog - ZDNet's Zero Day, Dancho Danchev's Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge and Webroot's Threat Blog with his research featured in Techmeme, ZDNet, CNN, PCWorld, SCMagazine, TheRegister, NYTimes, CNET, ComputerWorld, H+Magazine currently producing threat intelligence at the industry's leading threat intelligence blog - Dancho Danchev's - Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge. With his research featured at RSA Europe, CyberCamp, InfoSec, GCHQ and Interpol the researcher continues to actively produce threat intelligence at the industry's leading threat intelligence blog - Dancho Danchev's - Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge publishing a diverse set of hundreds of high-quality research analysis detailing the malicious and fraudulent activities at nation-state and malicious actors across the globe.

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