Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Premediating Cyber War

According to a post by the Atlantic's Mark Ambinder, the US government will be war-gaming a cyber attack in public on television on February 16. While some may consider this a form of simulation or rehearsal, it seems clear that its real value is as a premediation of Cyber War. This fictionalization of a cyber attack seems designed less to work out how the US military might defend such an attack or how it might be prevented than to premediate for the American public the likelihood of such an attack.

This premediated war-gaming goes hand in hand with recent Senate testimony by US intelligence and defense officials about the likelihood of such attacks, as well as with related state-based and media premediations in the US, the UK, Israel, and other nations. Given our increasing affective, social, and commercial dependence on information and communication networks, any extended disruption of these networks could cause incalculable damage to our social, affective, and financial exchanges--not to mention other kinds of damage to power networks, transportation networks, water purification and sanitation networks, and so forth.

Premediating such attacks is not likely to have a major effect on our social, technical, and commercial networks, but may help prepare the public affectively for major network disruptions. The aim of these various premediations is less to predict specific attacks or to prepare specific lines of defense than to modulate public affect with an eye toward encouraging us to accept the necessity of increased practices of state and corporate securitization.

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