The Effect of Cyber Crime on International Relations

In order to understand the effects that cybercrime can have on the sensitive relationships between nations in the modern world, one need not look further than the recent alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 US Presidential Election.

Secret emails were published and relationships between nations were strained.

It doesn’t take someone with an international relations degree to see how much of an impact such incidents can have on the security of an entire nation. In order to understand the situation better, let’s discuss the current situation as it stands.

This is Not an Unexpected Issue

It has been estimated that one-third of the human population on the planet has access to active internet connections and by 2020 that number will increase by 1.5 billion more. This of course makes hacking one of the most powerful tools for gaining political and economic advantages against enemy nations. As IoT comes into effect by 2017 and the world takes one more step towards an interconnected network where all things are connected to each other, cyber criminals will find even more incentives to hack information. Unfortunately, the growing number of active internet users will make it even more difficult to track cyber criminals down.

The Threat to a Nation’s Security

Scholars of international relations associated with strategy and security are actively trying to study and understand the implications that the ever advancing technology is going to have on both domestic and international security. The terms cyber terrorism, cyber warfare and cyber espionage are very real ones that pose very real threats to the actual security of a country. Apart from other nations, attention needs to be directed towards non-state parties such as terrorist. They too have thousands of hackers working for them around the world, trying to find a chink in a nation’s cyber security.

Foreign Policies

President Barrack Obama went on camera in December 2014 and openly declared that it was North Korea that had hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment. Unreleased copies of the film were leaked, personal information about the employees of Sony Pictures was revealed, and the threat of an attack on theatres ultimately became successful when the film was pulled from screening. Although North Korea denied responsibility in spite of proof against them, it was understood how powerful hacking is as an offensive weapon in the hands of the enemy. Soon after in 2015, the US and China came to an agreement which included a G20 statement with clear clauses and strict international laws regarding cyber security. Cyber defense is now an indispensable part of national defense strategies, with detailed cyber security laws and regulations being a part of every foreign policy and doctrine.

As is evident by alleged Russia’s cyber-attack on the US Democratic National Committee, there are countries out there that are developing offensive cyber wings to breach national security and sometimes they are being successful at it. This is the perfect time to pursue an international affairs masters degree, since more scholars from various fields, who have knowledge about international relations and laws, are now needed in government to study and update cyber defense policies and programs on a regular basis.