Scary Stuff

Talking about cyberwarfare today was weird. It was hard for me to formulate an opinion on how to respond to Russia’s aggressions because I don’t understand the culture or the regime; I don’t know how they would react to anything. In this case, clandestine efforts (like sending spies??) may be necessary to gain more insight on how their culture works and what vulnerabilities they truly have. I have to admit that I’ve never really thought about cyberwarfare much, and I hadn’t considered how the United States should respond to Russia’s interference in the election at all. After our discussion today, I’ve realized how difficult it is to think of an effective response, especially with a government that doesn’t really seem to or want to care about Russia’s interference. I’m hesitant to take an aggressive stance, but it seems like Russia will not stop their aggression until they face some significant push-back. I think that using informational power (for example, disseminating the photographs and bios of dead soldiers) can be effective and it is also not a blatant act of war; in this sense, its effects can be even more powerful because they may not be predicted by the public. Cyberwarfare is very scary to me because I feel like I know nothing about it and I really don’t know what to do about it because I’m unsure of the information I’m getting about the issues. While I know that I should not be content with my ignorance, it seems to me that cyberwarfare is an issue that is best left to “professionals”. I think that something needs to be done about Russia and that the US needs to step up their security game, but I have no idea what things can be done and I don’t know if anyone does. I hope that people who actually know what’s going on will be heard and able to make smart decisions for the country. Our guest speaker today knows a lot more than I do and I would say that I trust his ideas and suggestions.

We also touched on labelling of social media content today. It’s interesting that this idea we talked about a few weeks ago is actually a new bill being passed around right now. I see how there are several complications that may arise in passing the bill, but I hope that it goes through because it is a step in the right direction and the complications can be dealt with. It really is on the social media platforms to ensure a certain amount of security for civilians, and they have a responsibility in preventing the public from being misinformed–since social media nowadays has so much power and influence over people, they also need to take responsibility.


  1. profsmith

    November 16, 2017 @ 2:38 pm


    It’s good to be honest about what you know and where you feel you can make decisions. I do, however, think all of us need to become a bit more educated about cyber warfare and cyber conflicts. We certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable electing someone to the U.S. presidency if we didn’t believe he or she held the same views as we (the citizens) have about nuclear war. As such, I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t give future politicians a pass on their own views about cyber warfare and cyber conflict.

  2. Jim Waldo

    November 19, 2017 @ 8:33 pm


    I understand your worries about not knowing what would happen if we were to retaliate against the Russians in the cyber sphere. There are laws governing the use of force between nations in physical space, and part of those laws have to do with what is considered to be a proportional response. While it may seem odd that there are rules to warfare, not having those rules (which are missing in the cyber sphere) mean we don’t know what is considered proportional. If we retaliate, what would be considered appropriate retaliation? When have we gone too far, or not far enough?

    We need more than extra intelligence– we need to talk with other nations about what we can and can’t do, or at least see if we can agree on what is appropriate. This means that we might have to limit some of the things we do in the cyber sphere, which we seem unwilling to do. But it has to happen sometime.

Leave a Comment

Log in