Is there any upside for cyberwar?

Warfare has never been considered good because of what it brings about, no matter what form it is. From armed conflict to cold war, the 20th century witnessed the emergence of a new kind of war, cyberwarfare.

Cyberwarfare is bad, obviously it is. The 21st century is the century of attention economy, and such economy depends on information. Take for example, the United States, one of, if not the country most dependant on computers. Computer systems control the financial system, traffic including roads, rail and the air, it appears in defense system and it stores national classified data. A crisis may happen when the authority lost their control of the information. This crisis will not only affect national security, politics or international relationship but also the economy. According to Director of US National Intelligence McConnell, the financial impact of a one-day-cyberwar that disrupt US credit and debit card transactions is estimatedly $35 billion USD.

Despite its backwards, cyber warfare, if being used with good purpose, can be turned into a good thing, due to its characteristics (normally large-scaled). The attack into Al Qaeda’s headquarter and the death of its symbol Osama Bin Laden is a result of NSA cyber attack campaign into Al Qaeda’s computer system. The attack didn’t eliminate the terrorist network, but it plays a huge role as the leader was killed. I’m not talking about whether it is just a propaganda or a play performed by the US, but it shows that cyberwar has the potential to create a revolution.

The case of Al Qaeda is not the only instance. Responding to ISIS actions, global hacker collective Anonymous stormed the international scene with a hacking campaign against the terrorist group by exposing and disabling hundreds of Twitter accounts, email addresses and websites purportedly affiliated with ISIS.

Both examples didn’t destroy the terrorist regime, but to some extent, they reveals some positive side of cyberwar. What do you think?


10 responses to “Is there any upside for cyberwar?

  1. What you say is true when you look at the concept of cyberwar there doesn’t seem to be any up side to it. We hear about the breaches in government security from other countries, cyberbullying and many more that put cyberwar in a bad light. However, with the front of hacktivists taking cyberwar into their own hands, does prove that good can come from the concept, if done correctly. Take Edward Snowden and the group Anonymous, they both have taken cyberwar into their own hands to help and educate the general public. There is definitely a huge grey area when it comes to cyberwar, edging on being both a bad and good aspect of the digital age. But my question to you is, how can you define when cyberwar has taken a good or bad term, if whatever happens can in turn harm people?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cyber-warfare is becoming more and more so common in the modern world today and honestly I think this is for the better. Of course, it can be destructive towards millions of people losing everything they have, however at least it is not their lives. Battles are now being fought with keyboards instead of guns. I do agree with you however that there is no possible way that this concept can be seen in a positive light. It is funny how you mentioned the cold war as this article does also (, it highlights how cyberespionage has torn relations between that of china and the US and how it is creating cyberwar. It is interesting how times have changed from 50 years ago. In this way, cyberwar does not have to be coming from a ‘bad party’ but can come from two competition governments which leads to the idea of Cyber Governance and the filtering of everything on the internet. Year doubt that’s going to happen, who’s going to pay for it, Trump?

    Great blog post, provoked some ideas from me about how cyber-crime has affected events such as Bin Laden’s death and also the hacker group anonymous against ISIS ( which is an interesting story.

    ~ krisesandchrosses ~

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Trang

    I liked the way you began your post by stressing the fact that war is bad in every form. It makes a good foundation for your latter arguments.
    You came up with good examples of both good and bad sides of cyberwar, which creates a comprehensive view on the problem. I really enjoyed the Bin Laden case, really interesting and useful.
    Personally, I consider one positive thing of cyberwar is that it reduces the amount of death people involved. Unlike armed war, there is no actual physical conflict in cyberwarfare so fewer people have to die.
    My recommendation is that maybe you should include several possible arguments to support the idea that cyber warfare can be positive in order for readers to have a range of options which stimulate their thinking.
    This is a source provides 10 facts that maybe we do not know about cyberwar that I think you can take a look.

    Hope to read more from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like that you have taken a different approach with this questioning if cyberwarfare can ever be used for good. I take similar stance on this matter with the beginning of your post where you say “Warfare has never been considered good because of what it brings about, no matter what form it is”. The video you posted was enjoyable to watch at the fact it was so cringey and propagandarry. You have made a good point by saying that cyberwarfefare can be used to lead to positive revolutionary change but I feel that comes down to the perspective of what side you are on just the same as actual war. The only positive I can see from cyberwarfare is that it means battles don’t necessarily have to be fought by innocent soldiers on the front lines but in the end it still results in physical death and destruction, so it is still not a good thing. For example the Stuxnet worm opened the door for physical cyber attacks by being the first malware able to physically damage another countries infrastructure. This can lead to attacks on nuclear faculties that would create widespread death. Here is an article that explains it better.'s-first-digital-weapon-stuxnet/7926298


  5. I like your take on this post about how cyberwar could potentially be used for good – it really caught my attention. You make some good points in this post, about how good can come about through revolutions and people coming together – but it really makes you wonder, at what cost do these revolutions finally succeed? I feel as though this is similar with cyber warfare. Here I found an interesting post on the ‘ethics’ of cyberwar, I didn’t even realise it needed ethics!


  6. Warfare as a concept is a negative thing. Due to the reliance technology created by the digital age, cyber warfare is just the natural progression of warfare. I think that, depending on the circumstance or overarching goal of those involved, cyber warfare could serve some positive purposes. The obvious one is the loss of human life being drastically reduced. This piece discusses the positive attributes of cyber warfare and notes that “none of the cyber attacks the world has witnessed have killed any human being and therefore cyber war is currently a “metaphor” rather than a reality”. Which is a good thing.


  7. Great post! You packed a lot of information in which really taught me a lot about Cyberwar and how it works. I do agree that despite it being backwards, cyber warfare, if being used with good purpose, can be turned into a good thing, due to its characteristics. Personally I believe that communication and cooperation between government officials and private-sector critical infrastructure owners is essential because the military is more knowledgeable and better prepared to respond to a cyberattack. This is due to a major hurdle that nations face in defending their critical infrastructures is working with the entities that control telecommunications networks, electrical grids, and transportation systems. Have a read more about it:
    Can’t wait to read more!


  8. “cyber warfare, if being used with good purpose, can be turned into a good thing” – This is subjective, and that a ‘good purpose’ is entirely the result of the social makeup of that individual and the political environment that impacts that society.

    I would argue that there is no inherent good or bad, but rather subjective experiences. For example, if we state that radical networks are bad and that America involving themselves in international issues is good, then that’s subjective to the perspectives that we have grown up with. But that is my perspective, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You have started your post really well; I love how you have clearly stated that cyberwar has no positive aspects in any way. With our constantly evolving world and new technologies emerging all the time, its expected that cyberwars, hacking and cyber-crime do occur. You’ve explained and provided key facts about cyberwar, and the attack on Al Qaeda and the death of Osama Bin Laden example you have used works very well with this weekly topic. You bring forward good points in the post, revolutionary change can happen but I believe it depends on what way you look at cyberwar. Have a look at this Four Corners story about Cyberwar and hackers –


  10. The word ‘cyber warfare’ is misleading in the first place. A war is a conflict between two parties, but usually in ‘cyber warfare’ one party intentionally attacks a target for an intended purpose and the other party has no intention for a fight. I would say ‘cyber attack’ would be a way to put it.
    When we say ‘cyber warfare’ is bad, we are blaming the attackers’ malicious intention, be it stealing information or money from others. Technically speaking, what people did in the cyber attack campaign into Al Qaeda’s computer system has no different from what people do when they attack a bank system. The only difference is that the former did so on a higher moral ground – to eliminate terrorism and maintain world peace, while the latter is for personal interest.
    So to me, the question ‘is there any upside for cyberwar’ is similar to ‘is there any upside for murder’. I can only say that sometimes the end justifies the means.


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