Cybersecurity and the Age of Privateering

Research Affiliate Florian Egloff's book chapter has been published in Understanding Cyber Conflict: Fourteen Analogies (2017, Georgetown University Press).

In this chapter, Egloff chronicles how governments commissioned privately owned vessels in wartime to operate against their adversaries’ trade and in peacetime to attack merchants’ ships in reprisal for harms attributed to a nation and to capture goods of equal value. Comparably, several states have recently used or allowed hackers and criminal organizations to conduct cybercrime and cyber-enabled espionage against adversarial states and economic interests. Meanwhile, if a state lacks the capacity to defend the cyber domain and obtain redress for harmful cyber activities, then the users are largely left to protect themselves. Naturally, private companies, like the earlier naval merchants, are now debating with governments the advisability of issuing letters of marque that would allow companies to counterattack against cyberespionage and theft.


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