1 January 2011

Ronald Deibert: Tracking the emerging arms race in cyberspace

The director of the University of  Toronto’s Citizen Lab—an interdisciplinary R&D group that works on issues related to digital media, global security, and human rights—describes the new militarization of cyberspace. Deibert’s recent work reveals evidence of sophisticated cyber-espionage aimed at corporations, governments, and human rights groups. In this interview, he explains the implications of these developments on international relations, describes how surging cybersecurity budgets are creating a kind of cyber military-industrial complex, and explains how a computer worm called Stuxnet is an example of a cyber threat to the nuclear complex and other industrial systems. He argues that today’s deteriorating cyber-environment poses immediate threats to the maintenance of online freedom and longer-term threats to the integrity of global communications networks.