Cybersecurity Discourse in the United States: Cyber-Doom Rhetoric and Beyond, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Cybersecurity Discourse in the United States

Cyber-Doom Rhetoric and Beyond, 1st Edition

By Sean T. Lawson


256 pages

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Hardback: 9781138201828
pub: 2019-12-19
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This book examines the role of cyber-doom rhetoric in the U.S. cybersecurity debate.

For more than two decades, fear of ‘cyber-doom’ scenarios—i.e. cyberattacks against critical infrastructure resulting in catastrophic physical, social, and economic impacts—has been a persistent feature of the U.S. cybersecurity debate. This is despite the fact that no cyberattack has come close to realizing such impacts. This book argues that such scenarios are part of a broader rhetoric of cyber doom within the U.S. cybersecurity debate, and takes a multidisciplinary approach that draws on research in history, sociology, communication, psychology, and political science. It identifies a number of variations of cyber-doom rhetoric, then places them into a larger historical context, assesses how realistic are the fears expressed in such rhetoric, and finally draws out the policy implications of relying on these fears to structure our response to cybersecurity challenges. The United States faces very real cybersecurity challenges that are, nonetheless, much less dramatic than what is implied in the rhetoric. This book argues that relying on cyber-doom rhetoric to frame our thinking about such threats is counterproductive, and encourages us to develop ways of thinking and speaking about cybersecurity beyond cyber doom.

This book will be of much interest to students of cyber-security, foreign policy, public administration, national security and IR in general.

Table of Contents

1. The Cyber Sky is falling! An Introduction to Cyber Doom

2. From WarGames to Cyber Pearl Harbor: Motivating Cybersecurity with Cyber-Doom Rhetoric

3. From Wire Devils to Cyber Squirrels: Cyber-Doom Rhetoric as Fear of Technology-Out-of-Control

4. Panic, Paralysis, and Social Collapse: The Exaggerated Fears of Cyber Doom

5. When Fear Fails: The Dangers of Cyber-Doom Rhetoric

6. Cold War 2.0 and the Emergence of Cyber-Enabled Political Warfare

7. After Action Report and Lessons Learned

About the Author

Sean T. Lawson is Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Utah and Adjunct Scholar at the Modern War Institute at West Point, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Conflict, Security and Technology

The Studies in Conflict, Technology and Security series aims to publish challenging studies that map the terrain of technology and security from a range of disciplinary perspectives, offering critical perspectives on the issues that concern publics, business and policymakers in a time of rapid and disruptive technological change.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Media & Internet