Age of Deception: Intelligence and Cybersecurity in International Relations

Mar. 11, 2021 | 12 pm EDT | LINK |

Jon R. Lindsay,
University of Toronto

SCP Seminal Talk
Presented by the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy

Title: Toward Automatically Evaluating Security Risks and Providing Cyber Threat Intelligence

Abstract: This talk will provide an overview of a book project in progress entitled, Age of Deception. The book attempts to synthesize a decade of cyber research by arguing that cyber conflict is helpfully understood as intelligence by other means. I will unpack this claim by building on the information practice framework presented in my previous book, Information Technology and Military Power. Intelligence practice is distinguished from other forms of information practice by its reliance on deception and exploitation of common institutions and infrastructures to gain a competitive advantage. Cyberspace is the most complex sociotechnical information system ever built, and cyber conflict is essentially just intelligence competition within it. Yet intelligence as such has become digitized, supersized, and civilianized. I argue that intelligence in any era has a distinct strategic logic that differentiates it from more familiar concepts of peace, war, and coercion. Tradeoffs across these concepts can be used to visualize the evolution of empirical cyber conflict involving the United States, China, Iran, and Russia. I conclude with some counterintuitive strategic implications of an intelligence framework for cybersecurity. 

Bio: Jon R. Lindsay is Assistant Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research explores the impact of emerging technology on global security. He is the author of Information Technology and Military Power (Cornell University Press, 2020), co-editor of Cross-Domain Deterrence: Strategy in an Era of Complexity (Oxford University Press, 2019) and China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain(Oxford University Press, 2015), and has published widely in international relations, technology policy, and science studies. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. in Computer Science and B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. He has also served in the U.S. Navy with operational assignments in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.