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Translator: Elisabeth Buffard Reviewer: Veronica Martinez Starnes
Good afternoon.
If you have followed
diplomatic news in the past weeks,
you may have heard of a kind of crisis
between China and the U.S.
regarding cyberattacks
against the American company Google.
Many things have been said about this.
Some people have called a cyberwar
what may actually be
just a spy operation --
and obviously, a quite mishandled one.
However, this episode reveals
the growing anxiety in the Western world
regarding these emerging cyber weapons.
It so happens that these weapons are dangerous.
They're of a new nature:
they could lead the world
into a digital conflict
that could turn into an armed struggle.
These virtual weapons can also destroy the physical world.
In 1982, in the middle of the Cold War
in Soviet Siberia,
a pipeline exploded with a burst of 3 kilotons,
the equivalent of a fourth of the Hiroshima bomb.
Now we know today -- this was revealed
by Thomas Reed,
Ronald Reagan's former U.S. Air Force Secretary --
this explosion was actually the result
of a CIA sabotage operation,
in which they had managed
to infiltrate the IT management systems
of that pipeline.
More recently, the U.S. government revealed
that in September 2008, more than 3 million people
in the state of Espirito Santo in Brazil
were plunged into darkness,
victims of a blackmail operation from cyber pirates.
Even more worrying for the Americans,
in December 2008 the holiest of holies,
the IT systems of CENTCOM,
the central command
managing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
may have been infiltrated by hackers
who used these:
plain but infected USB keys.
And with these keys, they may have been able
to get inside CENTCOM's systems,
to see and hear everything,
and maybe even infect some of them.
As a result, the Americans take the threat very seriously.
I'll quote General James Cartwright,
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
who says in a report to Congress
that cyberattacks could be as powerful as
weapons of mass destruction.
Moreover, the Americans have decided
to spend over 30 billion dollars
in the next five years
to build up their cyberwar capabilities.
And across the world today, we see
a sort of cyber arms race,
with cyberwar units
built up by countries like North Korea
or even Iran.
Yet, what you'll never hear
from spokespeople
from the Pentagon or the French Department of Defence
is that the question isn't really
who's the enemy, but actually
the very nature of cyber weapons.
And to understand why, we must look at how,
through the ages, military technologies
have maintained or destroyed
world peace.
For example,
if we'd had TEDxParis
350 years ago,
we would have talked about the military innovation of the day --
the massive Vauban-style fortifications --
and we could have predicted
a period of stability in the world or in Europe.
which was indeed the case in Europe
between 1650 and 1750.
Similarly, if we'd had this talk
30 or 40 years ago, we would have seen
how the rise of nuclear weapons,
and the threat of mutually assured destruction they imply,
prevents a direct fight between the two superpowers.
However, if we'd had this talk 60 years ago,
we would have seen how the emergence
of new aircraft and tank technologies,
which give the advantage to the attacker,
make the Blitzkrieg doctrine very credible
and thus create the possibility of war in Europe.
So military technologies
can influence the course of the world,
can make or break world peace --
and there lies the issue with cyber weapons.
The first issue:
Imagine a potential enemy announcing
they're building a cyberwar unit,
but only for their country's defense.
Okay, but what distinguishes it
from an offensive unit?
It gets even more complicated
when the doctrines of use become ambiguous.
Just 3 years ago, both the U.S. and France
were saying they were investing militarily in cyberspace,
strictly to defend their IT systems.
But today both countries say
the best defense is to attack.
And so, they're joining China,
whose doctrine of use for 15 years has been
both defensive and offensive.
The second issue:
Your country could be under cyberattack
with entire regions plunged into total darkness,
and you may not even know
who's attacking you.
Cyber weapons have this peculiar feature:
they can be used
without leaving traces.
This gives a tremendous advantage to the attacker,
because the defender
doesn't know who to fight back against.
And if the defender retaliates against the wrong adversary,
they risk making one more enemy
and ending up diplomatically isolated.
This issue isn't just theoretical.
In May 2007, Estonia was the victim of cyberattacks,
that damaged its communication
and banking systems.
Estonia accused Russia.
But NATO, though it defends Estonia,
reacted very prudently. Why?
Because NATO couldn't be 100% sure
that the Kremlin was indeed behind these attacks.
So to sum up, on the one hand,
when a possible enemy announces
they're building a cyberwar unit,
you don't know whether it's for attack
or defense.
On the other hand,
we know that these weapons give an advantage to attacking.
In a major article published in 1978,
Professor Robert Jervis of Columbia University in New York
described a model to understand
how conflicts could arise.
In this context,
when you don't know if the potential enemy
is preparing for defense or attack,
and if the weapons give an advantage to attacking,
then this environment is
most likely to spark a conflict.
This is the environment that's being created
by cyber weapons today,
and historically it was the environment in Europe
at the onset of World War I.
So cyber weapons
are dangerous by nature,
but in addition, they're emerging
in a much more unstable environment.
If you remember the Cold War,
it was a very hard game,
but a stable one played only by two players,
which allowed for some coordination between the two superpowers.
Today we're moving to a multipolar world
in which coordination is much more complicated,
as we have seen at Copenhagen.
And this coordination may become even trickier
with the introduction of cyber weapons.
Why? Because no nation
knows for sure whether its neighbor
is about to attack.
So nations may live under the threat
of what Nobel Prize winner Thomas Schelling
called the "reciprocal fear of surprise attack,"
as I don't know if my neighbor
is about to attack me or not --
I may never know --
so I might take the upper hand
and attack first.
Just last week,
in a New York Times article dated January 26, 2010,
it was revealed for the first time that
officials at the National Security Agency
were considering the possibility of preemptive attacks
in cases where the U.S. was about
to be cyberattacked.
And these preemptive attacks
might not just remain
in cyberspace.
In May 2009, General Kevin Chilton,
commander of the U.S. nuclear forces,
stated that in the event of cyberattacks against the U.S.,
all options would be on the table.
Cyber weapons do not replace
conventional or nuclear weapons --
they just add a new layer to the existing system of terror.
But in doing so, they also add their own risk
of triggering a conflict --
as we've just seen, a very important risk --
and a risk we may have to confront
with a collective security solution
which includes all of us:
European allies, NATO members,
our American friends and allies,
our other Western allies,
and maybe, by forcing their hand a little,
our Russian and Chinese partners.
The information technologies
Joël de Rosnay was talking about,
which were historically born from military research,
are today on the verge of developing
an offensive capability of destruction,
which could tomorrow, if we're not careful,
completely destroy world peace.
Thank you.


【TED】ガイ・フィリップ・ゴルトシュタイン: サイバー攻撃が現実世界にもたらしうる脅威 (Guy-Philippe Goldstein: How cyberattacks threaten real-world peace)

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Zenn 2017 年 2 月 8 日 に公開
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