Cybersecurity talk to address the future of warfare

How serious a threat is cyber warfare? Does it fundamentally change the nature of international conflict, or does it simply provide combatants with another set of tools and techniques?

Jon R. Lindsay
Jon R. Lindsay. Photo provided.

Political scientist and U.S. Navy veteran Jon R. Lindsay will discuss the military implications of cyber weapons in a presentation titled "Restrained by Design: Cybersecurity and the Attenuation of War," on Wednesday, October 26, at 4:30 p.m. in G01 Gates Hall.

The lecture is the second of three Einaudi Center Distinguished Speaker Series talks this semester on international aspects of the cybersecurity challenge. It is presented by the center’s multidisciplinary Cybersecurity Working Group, whose members come from across the university.

Debates about cybersecurity policy tend to pit “revolutionaries” against skeptics, Lindsay notes. One side points to a rising tide of devious hacks and the expanding number of targets. The other side argues that malware is little more than a variation on traditional espionage and propaganda.

Yet cyber conflict continues to unfold in surprising ways, even if its danger and destructive capability pales in comparison with even minor historical wars.

Lindsay argues that we should think about cyberspace as a global institution, not just a technological infrastructure. As conventional war becomes less likely for the stakeholders in this institution, he believes cyber conflict becomes more likely.

About Jon Lindsay

Jon R. Lindsay is assistant professor of digital media and global affairs at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. A former U.S. naval officer, he studies the impact of technology on global security.

His publications include China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain (Oxford University Press, 2015), with Tai Ming Cheung and Derek Reveron, and articles in International Security, Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, Technology and Culture, and the Journal of Cybersecurity.

He is completing a book project, Shifting the Fog of War: Information Technology and the Politics of Control, on the strategic and organizational dimensions of military networks, drone warfare, and cybersecurity.

Another volume, Cross-Domain Deterrence: Strategy in an Era of Complexity, with Erik Gartzke, is currently under review. He holds a PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MS in computer science from Stanford University.