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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Cyber threats have become a pre-eminent concern in international affairs. The security of cyberspace has become a condition of the survival of modern societies; yet the scale of the threats grows only larger with time. Some states have turned to the UN system to address cyber issues. These efforts are of two general sorts. One involves the management of conflict in the cyber domain, a realm of security competition in which the dangers of miscalculation abound. The other concerns Internet governance, which pits Russia and China against Western countries. This chapter examines these multilateral thrusts. It argues that none has gone far, for various reasons. Cyber threats challenge the legal and institutional orthodoxies of the UN system. Large member states clash over the meaning and priorities of cybersecurity. Before analyzing these problems the chapter reviews the origins and history of cyber threats.

Keywords: cybersecurity, cyber conflict, internet governance, technology, international law, espionage

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