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Cyber War versus Cyber RealitiesCyber Conflict in the International System$
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Brandon Valeriano and Ryan C. Maness

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190204792

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190204792.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 September 2021

Theories of Cyber Conflict

Theories of Cyber Conflict

Restraint, Regionalism, Espionage, and Cyber Terrorism in the Digital Era

(p.45) Chapter 3 Theories of Cyber Conflict
Cyber War versus Cyber Realities

Brandon Valeriano

Ryan C. Maness

Oxford University Press

This chapter will introduce a theory of cyber conflict centered on the concepts of restraint, regionalism, espionage, and state-sponsored terrorism. Though one expects to find that fears of retaliation dominate state thinking in cyber relations, states are not prone to use the tactic for fear of the consequences or blowback from the action. The chapter also suggests that regionalism dominates in cyber relations. Espionage is expected in cyberspace because it is an easier forum for states to steal information and documents from adversaries than traditional “boots on the ground” tactics. Less powerful states will also utilize cyber espionage to project power on the status quo states. Finally, cyber state terrorism is expected, but its impact will be minimal and will not change relations between rival states. These theories defy conventional wisdom but accurately explain the actual use of the tactics.

Keywords:   restraint, regionalism, espionage, terrorism, cyber conflict

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