This textbook offers an accessible introduction to the historical, technical, and strategic context of cyber conflict.

The international relations, policy, doctrine, strategy, and operational issues associated with computer network attack, computer network exploitation, and computer network defense are collectively referred to as cyber warfare. This new textbook provides students with a comprehensive perspective on the technical, strategic, and policy issues associated with cyber conflict as well as an introduction to key state and non-state actors.

Specifically, the book provides a comprehensive overview of these key issue areas:

    • the historical emergence and evolution of cyber warfare, including the basic characteristics and methods of computer network attack, exploitation, and defense;
    • a theoretical set of perspectives on conflict in the digital age from the point of view of international relations (IR) and the security studies field;
    • the current national perspectives, policies, doctrines, and strategies relevant to cyber warfare; and
    • an examination of key challenges in international law, norm development, and the potential impact of cyber warfare on future international conflicts.

This book will be of much interest to students of cyber conflict and other forms of digital warfare, security studies, strategic studies, defense policy, and, most broadly, international relations.

chapter 1|9 pages


chapter 3|25 pages

Cyberspace and international relations

chapter 4|19 pages


From signals intelligence to cyber warriors

chapter 5|17 pages


From exploitation to offensive cyber operations

chapter 7|34 pages

States at cyberwar

The dynamics of interstate cyber interactions

chapter 8|20 pages

Cyber conflict as “not war”

chapter 9|35 pages

Non-state actors

Terrorism, subversion, and activism online

chapter 10|41 pages

National experiences with cyber-security

Realization and institutional development

chapter 12|6 pages

The future of cyber conflict