Cyber Warfare and the Future of Security

A new series of seminars on the effect of the Digital Revolution on International Relations


Claudia Aradau, Professor of International Politics, War Studies Department, King’s College London

Lucas Kello, Director of the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs, University of Oxford

Chaired by

Mark Leonard, Co-Founder and Director, ECFR

International Relations in the Digital Age is a new series launched by ECFR in 2018 to examine how the digital revolution is redefining international relations. The series will explore how technological changes will affect democracy, economics, identity and war, as well as how the digital revolution will change more specific concepts like deterrence, international regimes, state and non-state actors.

New technologies are upending conventional understanding of warfare and the way states deal with defence and deterrence. Any adversary – from spies and soldiers, to criminals and hooligans – can launch a cyber-attack. The shift is much bigger than from past changes in military capability. Submarines, powered flights, tanks, radar or nuclear weapons are all vulnerable. Even defining ‘an act of war’ has become difficult. State-sponsored attacks – think North Korea on Sony Pictures, or Russia on Estonia’s information systems in 2007 – stop short of full-scale war but are too aggressive for normal peacetime behaviour. To what extent is technological change altering conventional understanding of warfare and how we define security? What would a redefinition look like? And how can states adapt in an era of the ‘virtual weapon’?