Asan Plenum

Session: Session 2 / Regency Room
Date/Time: April 30, 2013 / 14:00-15:15

Panel Description

Recent cyber attacks have underscored the changing nature of conflict in the twenty-first century. Cyber attacks reveal asymmetries that may level the battlefield between South Korea, the world’s most wired country, and North Korea, one of its most impoverished. Until recently, cyber security was part of the realm of science fiction novels. Today, it is one of the fastest changing fields in a complex strategic environment, with governments establishing cyber commands and cyber warfare units dedicated to protecting their national interests. As China and the United States aggressively expand their cyber security capabilities—simultaneously pushing the limits of what constitutes online espionage or an act of war—the risks of something akin to mutually assured online destruction are rising. Indeed, at a time of heightened regional tensions, cyberspace is in danger of becoming a new and contested battlefield.

Guiding Questions

  1. 1. What are the rules, if any, governing cyberspace and responses to cyber hacking?
  2. 2. Cyber attacks are claimed to be able to shut down key infrastructure such as power plants, rail networks and electricity grids. When committed by a state, should such actions be considered an act of war?
  3. 3. As technological progress continues to expand the online realm’s importance to daily life, how vulnerable are we really to cyber attack?