Topics:

U.S. wrongly prioritizes cyber offensive, says Rid

Tools

Investments in offensive cybersecurity weapons don't necessarily make domestic networks any safer, warned Thomas Rid, a reader in war studies at London's King's College.

Cyber weapons capable of causing kinetic harm, such as the Stuxnet virus exacted on Siemens industrial control systems, require specificity in their coding because targets tend to be unique.

"In the case of Stuxnet you had to know the spinning frequency of the rotor at precisely which the rotor would collide," Rid noted while speaking Sept. 9 at an event on cyber war held at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

That means that cyber weapons' utility is limited. "Building a cyber Tomahawk missile is very hard, so investments in the offense are not necessarily making us any safer on the defense," he said, adding that he's concerned that the United States spends too much on offensive capabilities "and perhaps is not organized well enough on the defense."

For more:
- go to the Brookings event webpage

Related Articles:
Threshold for kinetic response to cyber higher than for physical attack, says paper
DoD's new cyber teams aren't expensive, says Carter
Benefits of brandishing cyber weapons not obvious, says Rand paper