Inner Circle podcast hosted by Tony Bradley TechSpective

Mikko Hyppönen Discusses When It’s OK to Respond to a Cyber Attack with Missiles

Inner Circle Podcast Episode 039

If a nation state launches a cyber attack against another nation state, is it acceptable to retaliate by launching missiles and engaging in a physical response? Or should cyber attacks only be met with a cyber response? That was the topic of a presentation that Mikko Hyppönen gave at Black Hat this year, and the topic he and I discuss on this episode of the Inner Circle podcast.

It’s an important conversation to have. Some people believe that responding to a cyber attack with missiles or some other military action is disproportionate, while others argue that war is war and an attack is an attack and nation states can’t or shouldn’t be confined by arbitrary rules of engagement. Should a nation launch missiles at another country that was responsible for hacking into the customer database of a company and stealing credit card information? Maybe not. Should a nation launch missiles at another country to retaliate for a cyber attack that shuts down the power grid, or disrupts transportation? That’s more of a gray area because it has a more direct impact on productivity and the economy–and could possibly result in the loss of human life.

We also chat about Black Hat and DefCon conference logistics. If you’re a regular listener of this podcast, you should be familiar by now with the fairly regular discussions about the sheer, overwhelming size of the major cybersecurity events and the challenges of getting from Point A to Point B, or trying to actually see all of the things you want to see. Mikko and I talk about how Black Hat and DefCon were more of the same (although I did not stay for DefCon myself)–too many great sessions happening simultaneously and sometimes too many things happening in completely different hotels that take 45 minutes to get to whether by foot or by vehicle. If you’ve attended one of these events, you know the struggle is real.

Listen to the episode to hear Mikko’s thoughts on attribution, retaliation, and the line–if and when there is one–between physical, real-world war and cyber war. Please feel free to ask questions or share your thoughts on the topic in the comments below. We are grateful for all of our listeners and we appreciate your help to share the podcast and grow the Inner Circle audience. Subscribe to the Inner Circle podcast through your favorite podcast platform, and share the podcast with your peers and friends.

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