A Cyber Arms Race?

By Kevin Coleman — Defense Tech Cyberwarfare Correspondent

Are we in a cyber arms race? That question has been around and talked about for some time now, but over the past months the subject of a cyber arms has been raised over and over again in meetings that included military and civilian subject matter experts. The discussions centered on the continuing competition between multiple nations and civilian entities to create, sell and have available more and more powerful cyber weapons than the others.

According to a Washington Times piece, Gen. Keith Alexander, head of U.S. Cyber Command, recently told Congress “… We believe that state actors have developed cyber weapons to cripple infrastructure targets in ways tantamount to kinetic assaults. Some of these weapons could potentially destroy hardware as well as data and software.”

The discussion evolved rapidly and brought in the topic of cyber arms dealers and their role in the continued expansion of entities that possess advanced cyber capabilities. An interesting hypothesis was offered – The availability of advanced cyber attack capabilities coupled with the continuous reporting of successful cyber attacks and breaches drives the market for cyber weapons. Of course Night Dragon, Stuxnet and Ghostnet were noted as significant evidentiary factors offered for the cyber arms race argument.

Related Story, here.


  • The_Hand

    The HBGary/Anonymous incident proved that government contractors, if not government agencies, are stockpiling zero-day exploits and other cyberweapons and tools for sale to hopefully-friendly nations. Stuxnet very strongly implied that state actors are developing and using cyberweapons as of at least 2-3 years ago.

    I certainly hope the U.S. government is in a cyber arms race, because everyone else seems to be.

  • The only race here is between defense contractors and that pot ‘o government defense gold. Naturally there’s always a “threat”

    • Nathan

      One need look no further than the morning paper to realize there are significant threats to this country. Not just to US hegemony, but to US interests and alliances worldwide. Call me a capitalist, but you have bigger problems than the iron triangle. Work for the best, prepare for the worst.

  • Hurrah

    Welcome the world of Neuromancer.

    • blight

      I’m shocked this received thumbs down. Neuromancer envisioned cyberwarfare well before we could dream of the World Wide Web.

  • Jacob

    Is it just me or is cyberwarfare pretty much shaping up to be the electronic equivalent of MAD where if your infrastructure is attacked, you respond by destroying their infrastructure, and the only really favorable outcome is if deterrence holds true?

    • The_Hand

      Infrastructure wise, yes. But there is also a lot of covert intelligence gathering in modern cyberwar too. It’s harder, but it can also be just about undetectable if done right.

  • Sanem

    after war on land, on sea, in the air, in space? now in cyber space

  • accr

    we should be press to have free internet zone from weapons
    but how we can make this ? who to be the stakeholders ?
    i think all of them ,stats ,person ,groups, NGOs
    Arab center for cyberspace research http://www.accr.co

    • blight_

      We have enough problems with weapons-free terrestrial zones.