Are Offensive Operations the Best Defence?

Threats to national security and the well-being of a state‚Äôs citizens are rife in the cyber domain. These threats can take the of non-conventional means such as ransomware operations in which the intent is financial gain, or operations designed to intentionally limit functionality of crucial systems. These threats manifest in operations carried out by States or State affiliated actors, or indeed criminal actors that may be protected by the State. Penalizing States for their own actions or for breaking with the fundamental concept of state, however, is fraught with challenges and complications, and risk of collateral damage and escalation of tensions. 

How can states deter malicious cyber activities, and what role can offensive cyber operations or the threat of such operations play in that? This Panel will examine these challenges and potential means of mitigating them, and perhaps even suggest novel approaches. Is the established concept of deterrence due for an overhaul? How should NATO address interoperability of cyber operations? Can they be mitigated through policy or the use of force?