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Three if by Internet: Exploring the Utility of a Hacker Militia

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Recent cyber exploits have highlighted the ever-growing complexity of the threats challenging our national security today. The surge of cyberattacks against both U.S. and allied targets has rapidly increased due to technological convergence and the accessibility of cyber tools that once were the sole domain of highly skilled hackers. The potential consequences of cyberattacks on national critical infrastructure, illustrated by state-sponsored encroachments of sovereignty in the cyber realm, underscore a growing list of cross-domain capabilities. The significant destructive potential of non-state actors in the cyber realm, however, pales in comparison with the sophistication, number, and consequence of those originating from China and Russia. Understanding the tools of these new adversaries and leveraging emerging technologies to combat them asymmetrically in the digital environment may provide the foundation for forging a new kind of strategy based on partnerships, in which civilian technologists and government leaders unite against malicious cyber actors with the potential to inflict destabilizing effects worldwide. Collaborative efforts are already underway in government, private industry, and the civilian population. This thesis examines how the U.S. government might effectively incorporate unconventional cyber entities to help improve national cybersecurity via nontraditional means.

Subject Categories:

  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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