The Nature of Cyber Threats & The Road to Cyber Security Regulation

Global efforts to regulate cyberspace in the context of international security are challenged by fundamentally different perceptions on the nature of cyber conflict by the world’s greatest cyber-powers: China, Russia, and the United States. This study explores the most critical aspects of cyberspace regulation that each cyber power attribute and perceives, that have prevented gaining further progress after the failure of the 2016-2017 Group of Governmental Experts, that was set to formally establish negotiations on cyberspace regulation.

Accordingly, the first part of the study explores the cybersecurity strategy of the cyber powers and its integration into their overall national security strategy. Doing so will allow a better understanding of the dominant causes of tensions and disputes over global cyberspace regulation that ultimately create an imbalance that is difficult to reconcile. We analyze the most critical cyber-related aspects that each cyber power provides by its national security strategy, and its implementation, on issues such as sovereignty, global governance structure, and critical infrastructure protection, and cyberwar.

The second part of the study focuses on the identification of the cyber powers’ minimal necessary shared perceptions that will set the basis for reinvigorating a productive dialog on an effective global cybersecurity regulation mechanism. By bridging the cyber powers’ related perceptual differences, we will suggest an initial model for a global cybersphere regime. Inspired by existing global security regimes in the weapons of mass destruction realm, the suggested model will seek to establish a strategic equilibrium among the cyber powers by balancing between each side’s national security interests and the potential gains derived from a stable and agreed upon global cyber regulation mechanism.

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