You currently have javascript disabled. Please enable it to continue using this site.
[ X ]
Invalid submission.
Topics Homepage> U.S. cyber warfare does more harm than good

U.S. cyber warfare does more harm than good

PRO (2 assertions)



1) In the last month alone, North Korea has spent $20 million on improving their cyberwarfare tactic.

2) Iran boasts of having the world's second-largest cyber-army.


1. Assertion: Cyber warfare negatively affects the economy.

Reasoning: The government expends a substantial amount of money attempting to attack others. Not only this, when the U.S. government employs cyberwarfare, it encourages other countries to respond with cyberwarfare as well. By doing this, we increase anti-US hate and perpetuate a cyberwar. This leads to businesses being negatively affected as well as the government.


Evidence: According to a conservative group based in Washington, the Department of Homeland Security recorded 37,000 attempted breaches of government and private computer systems as well as over 80,000 attacks on systems within the Pentagon in 2007.  In 2008, the United States government set aside $30 million for 2009 to fight these cyber attacks.



On 7 April 2009, the Pentagon announced they spent more than $100 million in the last six months responding to and repairing damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems.



The possible cost of a single wave of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure is over $700 billion. The cost to purchase power from other parts of the grid when a plant is shut down is $1 million per day. In 2008, there were 360 millions attempts to break into the Pentagon. In the past 2 years, there was over a 150% increase in unauthorized access to U.S. government computers. 1,500 pentagon systems were shut down after the U.S. Defense Secretary’s e-mail was breached. There are over three million cyber attacks per day experienced by the Global Information Grid, the U.S. military network with 17 millions computers.



President Obama has quoted a figure of $1 trillion lost last year to cybercrime—a bigger underworld than the drugs trade, though such figures are disputed. Banks and other companies do not like to admit how much data they lose. In 2008 alone Verizon, a telecoms company, recorded the loss of 285m personal-data records, including credit-card and bank account details, in investigations conducted for clients.

2. Assertion: Cyberwarfare strains international relations

Reasoning: Cyber warfare is a very dangerous thing to take part in. It is worse than a real war in some ways. For example, if the US uses cyber warfare to spy on China, then China would not trust us. This would cause China to look down on the US and also send a message to other countries that the US is untrustworthy.



Evidence: Other nations and companies can intercept and slightly modify some of our information, and then send this to our allies. This would strain relations with allies. When Stuxnet was deployed in 2009 by the US and Israel, it was originally designed to stay within Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant, damaging Siemens industrial equipment — but a programming error resulted in the worm spreading across the internet, and the eventual discovery by security companies such as Symantec and Kaspersky. According to The New York Times, upon hearing that the worm had escaped, Obama asked his national security team, “Should we shut this thing down?” With evidence that the worm was still damaging the Iranian nuclear program, a new version of Stuxnet was released and Olympic Games continued.


Public utilities in the U.S such as hydroelectric plants and nuclear power plants are steering away from proprietary systems and moving toward open based systems that use common protocols such as TCT/IP to connect with one another. This type of connection makes it much easier to get inside and gain control of. Richard Clarke, former White House aide, wrote a book called “Cyber War” In this book he made it clear that hackers can tap into our networks and transfer money, displace oil, vent gas, blow up generators, derail trains, crash airplanes, launch missiles, and destroy large amounts of financial and supply data. The scariest point that all of these examples have in common is all of this can be done in milliseconds. This is faster than a blink of any eye. Not many people realize that our nations land, air, and sea forces are commanded by network technologies that are susceptible to cyber weapons. 

CON (2 assertions)



1) 50 major hurricanes hitting the United States could cost the same as a single wave of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.

2) Two nuclear power plants have been shut down due to cyber incidents since 2006.





Cyber warfare - politically motivated hacking to conduct sabotage and espionage as a form of information warfare

1. Assertion: Cyber warfare is essential for national security.

Reasoning: The US is at great risk to attacks. Cyber warfare can be used by common computer coders to devise their own attacks. The US must have cyberwarfare to make sure that we are not in any danger from countries. In addition, cyberwarfare is used by the US and our allies to stop dangerous nations from possessing nuclear arms. We used cyberwarfare to slow down the Iranian nuclear program with Stuxnet. This set the Iranians back many years with one small computer virus. If the Iranian’s had made nuclear weapons, the US would have been at a major risk. Cyberwarfare is necessary to ensure the security of our nation.


Evidence: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta described the Shamoon computer virus that in August virtually destroyed 30,000 computers belonging to the Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco as “probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date.”

In February, the Iranian Fars News Agency quoted a Tehran intelligence officer as saying that 16,000 computers in Iran had been infected by Stuxnet.

The United States has used cyber warfare tactics to help aid them in warfare. In the beginning of the Iraq war cyber-attacks were used by the United States military to jam Iraqi military systems and use network attacks to cut off communication between Iraqi grounds unites. In May 2010 the United States passed the U.S Cyber Command to help spread it cyber defenses throughout the military. This new centralized command system combined the National Security Agency and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency which is known as CYBERCOM. The main purposes of CYBERCOM are protecting all defense networks, establishing a single chain of command up to the president, and working with a diverse group of partners to spread threat information and coordinate responses.

2. Assertion: U.S. cyberwarfare is the only effective tool to undermine other countries’ cyberwarfare operations.

Reasoning: Other countries will use cyberwarfare regardless of whether the U.S. does. They are expanding their tactics. The only way to slow this down and promote safeguards is through using cyberwarfare against them. If we allow our foes such as Russia and North Korea to expand their cyber armies, it puts us at greater risk of being harmed. The US must continue to keep up with all of the other nations cyber attacks by increasing their own. It is better than actual combat and is our only option to keep enemies at bay.


Evidence: Many other countries are organising for cyberwar, among them Russia, Israel and North Korea. For example, in the last month alone, North Korea has spent $20 million on improving their cyberwarfare tactic. If the US does not us cyberwarfare to protect itself, we are at risk of being bombarded by North Korean attacks. Russia has spent over $15 million in the past month improving their own cyber attacks. Iran boasts of having the world's second-largest cyber-army


Other countries use cyberwarfare to improve their economy at U.S. expense.


In the past few years, China has stolen from U.S. companies the amount of intellectual property equal to 50 times the current print collection of the Library of Congress.


US Congress by defence contractor Northrop Grumman, said that Chinese commercial firms - some with foreign partners were providing the People's Liberation Army (PLA) with advanced technology and research through cyberwarfare. The PLA had ''embraced the idea that successful war-fighting is based on the ability to exert control over an adversary's information and information systems", the report said. Using the scenario of a US defence of Taiwan as an example, the report said that China could hit US systems with "electronic countermeasures weapons and network attack and exploitation tools''.