Cyber Defence Library

Theoretical Offensive Cyber Militia Models

Theoretical Offensive Cyber Militia Models

Volunteer based non-state actors have played an important part in many international cyber conflicts of the past two decades. In order to better understand this threat the author describes three theoretical models for volunteer based offensive cyber militias: the Forum, the Cell and the Hierarchy. The Forum is an ad-hoc cyber militia form that is organized around a central communications platform, where the members share information and tools necessary to carry out cyber attacks against their chosen adversary. The Cell model refers to hacker cells, which engage in politically motivated hacking over extended periods of time. The Hierarchy refers to the traditional hierarchical model, which may be encountered in government sponsored volunteer organizations, as well as in cohesive self-organized non-state actors. For each model, the author gives an example and describes the model’s attributes, strengths and weaknesses using qualitative analysis. The models are based on expert opinion on different types of cyber militias that have been seen in cyber conflicts. These theoretical models provide a framework for categorizing volunteer based offensive cyber militias of non-trivial size.

Published in: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Information Warfare and Security, Washington DC. Reading: Academic Publishing Limited.

Ottis, R. (2011) Theoretical Offensive Cyber Militia Models. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Information Warfare and Security, Washington DC. Reading: Academic Publishing Limited, pp 307-313.