Earlier this week, I wrote on the impact of Flame to cyber war and political dynamics. Today’s NYT details how the US cyber attack program was first created under the Bush Administration and extended by Obama.
I raised a point in the blog, “Cyber attack is now preferable to a military attack.” The assertion behind this point? Cyber attack is bloodless, yet effective. As the NYT article points out:
It appears to be the first time the United States has repeatedly used cyberweapons to cripple another country’s infrastructure, achieving, with computer code, what until then could be accomplished only by bombing a country or sending in agents to plant explosives.
But the timing of the article, six months before the presidential election, shows another lesson of state-sponsored cyber attack: cyber victory brings political benefit. Presidents have long taken victory laps after military victories, real or perceived, Republican or Democrat. Until today, no one came forward to claim responsibility for Stuxnet which, as detailed by the article, did retard Iran’s nuclear weapon development efforts. And this is not an American phenomenon, other countries, such as Russia, have used cyber attacks as a PR tool. Wag the cyber dog.