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The book The Perfect Weapon is misnamed because the use of cyberattacks can cause damage that is unrelated to the sender of the attack. Because the reason for a specific attack is unknown, and often unknowable, the effect is to worsen the lives of the people affected but without giving them any knowledge of how to respond to improve the relationship. The use of cyber techniques to attack countries’ basic infrastructure lowers the overall capacity of the victim nation to thrive, but it doesn’t help the aggressor nation to thrive any better than the other nations of the world. However, if it is clear that a particular group is a primary beneficiary of an attack, then those are the ones who will be counter-attacked by the victims if that is possible.

The Perfect Weapon is terribly inefficient for communicating with the other “peaceful” nations what is the action they desire. It would be hoped that everyone would benefit from cooperation, but creating anxiety between nations by using cyber weapons will lessen everyone’s willingness to cooperate. It is counterproductive and self-destructive.

I know it is naïve to expect contending nations to behave kindly toward one another, but to behave otherwise brings anxiety to the perpetrators of cybercrimes as well as to their intended victims. The whole game is counterproductive because the perpetrators expect counter-attacks, and by attacking they set themselves up to be attacked and thus to become miserable.

Sometimes spying on other people’s intentions can make sense, because if you know clearly what the other people need and want it is possible to give them greater cooperation and satisfaction that will rebound to yourself. But to use cyber technology to spy so there can be greater disruptions to the lives of those other people will ultimately just bring retaliation. It is a vicious feedback cycle that can easily get out of control and potentially last forever.

I’m totally opposed to those kinds of secret actions, and I don’t recommend reading The Perfect Weapon because all a private individual can do is to defend themselves with feeble internet filtering tools, and there isn’t much, if any, good advice in the book on how we might do whatever it is that we need to do to protect ourselves.

These days a private individual is vulnerable. Sad. Enjoy.