Elite Military Hacker Squad Would Stop Wars With Bits, Not Bombs

Efforts to drag the US military's cybersecurity into the 21st century are well underway, but John Arquilla, professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, wants more: a preemptive international hacker force, which would cripple enemies before they even become a problem.

Existing plans for a new online defence strategy don't seem particularly bad, except for that first part: defence plans. The professor's idea is to deploy a much more proactive attack strategy:

[Arquilla would]like the US military's coders to team up with network specialists abroad to form a global geek squad. Together, they could launch preemptive online strikes to head off real-world battles.

Armies (even guerrilla armies) are so dependent on digital communications these days that a well-placed network hit could hobble their forces. Do these cyberattacks right-and openly-and the belligerents will think twice before starting trouble. Arquilla calls his plan "a nonlethal way to deter lethal conflict."

The strategy makes the assumption that digital communications are completely vital to enemies big and small, which is generally true, and putting cyberwar directly before more traditional measures like sanctions could have a huge effect: If guerrilla groups can't organise, they won't be too effective; if governments can't use their vital defence networks, they're basically toothless. Wired's posted a few scenarios of how this could actually out, and even if they sound a little naive—they do—they're satisfying cinematic, for whatever that's worth. [Wired]

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