Hanne Eggen Røislien
Norwegian Cyber Defence Forces (CYFOR)
The authors are blunt about their ambitions: they want to fill the large gap between technocentric approaches and a social science/policy orientation in the cyber realm, in scholarly approaches as well as in operations. Or, as they put it: 'the division between what we call cyber hype and threat inflation … and the empirical realities of cyber interactions … in the international system' (p. 1). Regardless of the conceptualization, there is no doubt that the gap exists and must be overcome. Social scientists and technologists operate in different and sometimes colliding worlds. Instead of mutual help, they frequently make problems for each other. The main problem with cyber warfare and defense is that it combines sophisticated technology and intricate policy and diplomacy. Thus, competence in cyber requires understanding spear fishing malware analytics as well as the dynamics of international relations. This book is a welcome attempt at bridging the gap. The authors start out by painting a picture of 'the Cyber Conflict World' and then introduce us to different types of cyber weapons as well as theories and practices of cyber conflict. In between, they review infamous cyber incidents such as Stuxnet in Iran. The book is a decent introduction to many of the central topics in cyber, including current challenges and advice for the road ahead. On the other hand, the discussion of the myriad of dimensions of cyber will be well-known already to those who work in the cyber discipline. After having read the book, I am still left with the same question: How do we overcome the gap between technologists and social scientists?