Vol. 6 No. 1 (2018): CISS Insight Quarterly Journal, March 2018
Book Reviews

Ben Buchanan, The Cybersecurity DilemmaHacking: Trust and Fear Between Nations

Ms. Afeera Firdous
Research Assistant at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS)
Published March 28, 2018
How to Cite
Ms. Afeera Firdous. (2018). Ben Buchanan, The Cybersecurity DilemmaHacking: Trust and Fear Between Nations . CISS Insight Journal, 6(1), 95 - 98. Retrieved from https://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/33


Ben Buchanan is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He specializes in relations between cybersecurity and statecraft. Ben has taken the traditional concept of security dilemma and has given a detailed account of its application to inter-state relations in the realm of cyberspace. The book, The Cybersecurity Dilemma-Hacking, Trust and Fear Between Nations, has eight chapters. Each chapter deals with a particular aspect of author’s thesis on the subject, and a conclusion which sums up the discussions in the book. Chapter one explains the Realist approach of international relations; anarchy, absolute power, and security. These concepts originated in ancient Greece, and explain the concepts of threat, misperception and misinterpretation; and how they lead to security dilemma. This chapter also discusses the application of a traditional concept (security dilemma) in a new domain (cyberspace) and sets the tone for discussion in the subsequent chapters. The author refers to Michael Herman, a British signals officer and scholar, who for the first time applied the concept of security dilemma beyond development and deployment of military capabilities. Ben further expanded Herman’s idea and applied it to foreign intelligence cyber operations. Chapter two and three explore the operational processes of network intrusion and defense. The author has named these ‘Intrusion Model’ and ‘Network Defense Model’. He raises the question regarding the broad effects of states intruding into the networks of other states not just to enhance offensive competences but also to build their own defenses. The author goes on to distinguish between the offensive and defensive goals which can motivate a state to intrusions.