Black Hat Las Vegas: NATO cyber ambassador reflects on cyberwar ethics

Kenneth Geers, senior research scientist at Comodo, speaking at Black Hat.
Kenneth Geers, senior research scientist at Comodo, speaking at Black Hat.

NATO's recent Warsaw Summit proclamation that cyberspace is an official domain of warfare, along with Russia's reported cyber aggressions against the U.S. and Ukraine, raises interesting logical and ethical questions about how one can responsibly plan and manage cyber-warfare.

Kenneth Geers, senior research scientist at Comodo Group and ambassador with the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), addressed this very topic in a session at Black Hat that analysed the Russian-Ukrainian cyber conflict.

“Hacking is not really something you can do overnight and so that means militaries are faced with the uncomfortable task of hacking a lot in peacetime in order to get ready for theoretical wars that may never happen,” said Geers, who co-authored and edited the CCDCOE's book Cyber War in Perspective: Russian Aggression Against Ukraine.

Moreover, as a cyber-warrior, you may have to “hack your way through a lot of civic infrastructure and third-party countries in to get to your target,” he said.