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It is sometimes said that deterrence is not an effective strategy in cyberspace, because of the difficulties in attributing the source of an attack and because of the large and diverse number of state and nonstate actors involved.Many situations are matters of degree, and as technology improves the forensics of attribution, the strength of deterrence may increase.It has been suggested that one reason why cyberweapons have not been used more in war thus far stems precisely from uncertainty about the effects on civilian targets and unpredictable consequences.For example, better attribution forensics may enhance the role of punishment; and better defenses through encryption may increase deterrence by denial.As states and organizations come to understand better the importance of the Internet to their economic well-being, cost-benefit calculations of the utility of cyber warfare may change, just as learning over time altered the understanding of the costs of nuclear warfare.Deterrence in the cyber era may not be what it used to be, but maybe it never was.
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