Not so Secret Cyber Spies Spy on Us!

Forty years ago, a group of Harvard professors, researchers and practitioners came together to tackle the greatest threat of the Cold War: the fear of a nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Today, there are trying to create a wider approach to tackle a new threat: the risk of conflict in cyberspace.

How do you protect a nation’s most critical infrastructure from cyber attack; how to organize, train, and equip a military force to prevail in the event of future conflict in cyberspace; how to deter nation-state and terrorist adversaries from conducting attacks in cyberspace; how to control escalation in the event of a conflict in cyberspace; and how to leverage legal and policy instruments to reduce the national attack surface without stifling innovation.  These are just a few ways that the Belfer Center’s Cyber Project at Harvard University are now working.

It is really creepy when you read their newest study that puts Trump’s USA and Xi’s China as then top two in cyber warfare capacity and resources. It is called “The National Cyber Power Index 2020 Methodology and Analytical Considerations”. 

The Index measures 30 countries’ cyber capabilities for 7 national objectives using a whole set of indicators collected from publicly available data.

It measures government strategies, capabilities for military preparedness, resource allocation, and innovation while assessing current power and potential

The 7 national objectives are:

  1. Surveilling and monitoring your own people
  2. Strengthening cyber defences
  3. Controlling and manipulating information – great for fake news
  4. Foreign spying – the political and military stuff
  5. Commercial spying
  6. Destroying an enemy’s infrastructure 
  7. Making up rules and norms and standards for the above

The 30 countries were chosen to be represent a relatively selective group of what is going on…

… and you can be sure that there is a lot of that going on!

Should we be worried? Of course because the big boys are throwing such big bucks at these activities and they are the biggest bullies in the class. There is also a bunch of smaller countries that are using huge slices of public money to do lots of nasty things but we will never hear too much about that. Asking too many questions will mean that you have to end up like Snowden in Moscow and that is no holiday!

The report make exciting reading – even Sweden get a mention…

The report looks at the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, UK, USA, and Vietnam.

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