10 Weaponizing Cyberspace A realistic appraisal of human nature enables one to meet such an obser- vation with disappointment, but with little surprise. Shocking assertions had been a component of some strands of political activism long before the internet emerged. An electronically connected world did, however, allow such assertions to spread with greater speed, and the software algorithms and human proclivities that prefer reinforcement of familiar messages did help ensure that salacious screamers would find one another with greater ease than before. And a proclivity toward accepting shocking or conspira- torially themed ideas arguably helps prepare an individual for victimiza- tion in many aspects resembling reflective control. WEAPONIZING DISARMAMENT PROPOSALS A paradoxical ploy among aggressively bent autocrats of the modern world has been to feign the peaceful priorities and to propose the abolition or restriction of various frightening or dangerous weapons. This is doubly unfortunate it forces the imposition of wary scrutiny on others who may genuinely, if sometimes naively, believe that conflict somehow emanates more from the instruments of war than from the nature and decisions of human beings. The second misfortune is that some particularly guileful autocrats and regimes have used the trick in order to camouflage the early phases of aggression. The most striking example of this is Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, who within weeks of coming to power in Germany disin- genuously proposed a multilateral disarmament treaty. In the right condi- tions and with the requisite gall, such figures have on occasion succeeded in duping the world for years. Russia has proposed international agreements on information security since the mid-1990s, but its proposals have concealed crucial (and delib- erate) stumbling blocks. For example, in the 1990s Russian officials were found to openly equate a cyberattack with a weapon of mass destruc- tion.34 It is important to remember that far less of the world and its infra- structure was connected to the internet at the time the wisdom of similar statements under President Donald Trump’s administration in the United States in 2017 has been debated, but nonetheless these latter assertions foresaw vastly different kinds of effects than a cyberattack might have been expected to wreak before the year 2000. Prior to 2000, there had never been a proven case of cyberactivity leading to kinetic destruction. Assert- ing a cyberattack, vintage 1998, to a nuclear or biological weapon attack, was ipso facto a nonstarter. The closest that could be accomplished was a 1998 declaration by Russian president Boris Yeltsin and U.S. president Bill Clinton announcing a commitment to “mitigating the negative aspects of the information technology revolution.”35 A key Russian Information Security Doctrine document emerged in September 2000 asserting that “the major thrust areas for international
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