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Cyberspace: Malevolent Actors, Criminal Opportunities, and Strategic Competition

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Technical Report

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Army War College -Strategic Studies Institute Carlisle United States

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The emergence and evolution of cyberspace has contributed to globalization, the creation of a new global commons, the rapid spread of knowledge and ideas, the development of global markets for local products, and the empowerment of individuals and small groups. Yet, cyberspace creates new opportunities for criminality, provides new avenues for terrorist recruitment, and adds a new playing field within which geopolitical rivalry among great and not so great powers plays itself out. Dependence by societies on cyberspace also creates new vulnerabilities. Cyberspace has brought new potential and promiseyet simultaneously it has also become a domain in which malevolent actors pursue selfish interests, spy, steal, extort, bully, and stalk. The problems are intensified by the fact that although cyberspace has become a ubiquitous feature of modern life, it is poorly understood. One approach often adopted by many members of the national security community is to treat it as a fifth strategic domain, joining land, sea, air, and space. Yet, cyberspace also permeates these other domains, and indeed, has permeated society as a whole. Perhaps one of the most significant features of cyberspace, however, is that it is becoming a risky place for the entire spectrum of users nation-states, non-governmental and transnational organizations, commercial enterprises, and individuals. Yet it is also a space of opportunitiesfor benevolent, neutral, and malevolent actors.

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