Digital Retaliation? Denial-of-Service Attacks After Sanction Events

We will discuss Philipp Lutscher's article, "Digital Retaliation? Denial-of-Service Attacks After Sanction Events".

What is digital retaliation, when do states engage in it, and what are the implications for foreign and security policy? In this seminar Dr. Philipp Lutscher, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oslo, will discuss his recent article “Digital Retaliation? Denial-of-Service Attacks After Sanction Events” published earlier this year in the Journal of Global Security Studies.

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Conventional wisdom expects to see a rise in cyber activities around aggressive foreign policy events. In this article, I test this claim by investigating whether sanctions lead to an increase in denial-of-service (DoS) attacks using new data on DoS attacks measured from Internet traffic. Exploring the development of DoS attacks around sanctions imposed against Russia in 2014 indeed shows an increase of DoS attacks against several sanction sender states. Extending this case study to a systematic analysis, including all sanction threats and impositions made by the United States and the European Union between 2008 and 2016, shows no apparent patterns. When I exclusively consider sanctions against technologically advanced countries, however, the frequency of attacks rises systematically against the United States. It thus appears that states do not always have to expect a digital retaliation after aggressive foreign policies. Nevertheless, sanctioning countries may have to anticipate an increase in DoS attacks when their governments impose sanctions against technologically advanced countries.

Speaker bio:

Dr. Philipp Lutscher is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oslo since October 2020. His research interests include the political use of modern information and communication technologies, contentious politics and autocratic politics. Lutscher’s recent publications in the Journal of Global Security Studies and the Journal of Conflict Resolution empirically explore the use of low-cost cyber operations in and by authoritarian regimes.

Respondent bio:

Dr. Nadiya Kostyuk, Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology, will be the lead discussant. Dr. Kostyuk´s research focuses on security studies, modern warfare, cyber conflict, cyber institutions and capability, Russian and Eurasian politics. Methodological areas of interest include network analysis, mathematical and computational modeling, and text analysis.  Dr. Kostyuk’s research has been published (or is forthcoming) in the Journal of Peace ResearchJournal of Conflict ResolutionJournal of Global Security StudiesJournal of Strategic SecurityInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)Cyber Defense Review, and several edited volumes and general-audience publications.  Her research has been supported by the Belfer Center for Science and International Technology at Harvard's Kennedy Schoolthe Department of Computer Science and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and the Cybersecurity, Internet Governance, Digital Economy, and Civic Tech Initiative at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs

Published Apr. 9, 2021 12:38 PM - Last modified Apr. 9, 2021 2:39 PM