Working Paper

Paul Cornish
  • Commissioned by Cityforum, this working paper asks whether states and societies should consider economic cyber warfare - aggressive economic action either from, or facilitated by cyber space - as a strategic problem.
  • The paper asks whether the economy might be the way - and cyberspace the means - with which to attack the organisation and coherence of a modern developed state; not for financial or criminal gain or to achieve a terrorist 'spectacular', but for maximal political or strategic ends.
  • The paper concludes that while economic cyber warfare might not merit a full-scale policy response at present, it will be prudent to subject it to sustained and careful scrutiny, particularly in light of its attractiveness to non-state actors as a low-cost, low risk alternative to both conventional and economic warfare.
  • The paper suggests that economic cyber warfare could be an ideal candidate for the risk-based approach to national security, risks and challenges introduced in the 2010 UK National Security Strategy.