The Quest for Cyber Peace

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This publication aims to promote the concept of global cyber peace by examining how ICTs underpin everyday life; evaluating current cyberthreats and trends; analysing the impacts of cybercrime and cyber conflict; assessing the validity of current legal frameworks; defining the concept of cyber peace, and establishing it as an overriding guiding principle for peaceful behaviour in cyberspace; and charting a path forward.



Cyberspace and the Threat of Cyberwar

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become an integral part of everyday life for many people of the world. Digital communications, networks and systems provide vital resources and indispensable infrastructure throughout the global community, necessities without which many populations could not flourish or even survive. These structures and systems represent a new domain, and with it come new challenges for preserving peace and stability. Without mechanisms for ensuring peace, cities and communities of the world will be susceptible to attacks of an unprecedented and limitless variety. Such an attack could come without warning. Suddenly, computers and cell phones will cease to function, cash-dispensing and banking machine screens will stare blankly at customers, air traffic control, railroad and motor traffic systems will leave highways, bridges and waterways in chaos and perishable goods stranded far from hungry populations. With the loss of electricity, hospitals, houses, shopping centres, whole communities will tumble into darkness. Government authorities will be unable to take stock of the damage, communicate with the rest of the world to spread word of the crisis or protect their vulnerable citizenry from subsequent attacks. This is the intractable plight of a community paralysed by the instantaneous loss of digital networks. This is the potential devastation of a new kind of war, a “Cyberwar.”


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