The politics of cyberattacks


IMAGE: This is professor Nils Weidmann, Professor of Political Science at the University of Konstanz. Nils Weidmann is head of the research group ‘Communication, Networks and Contention’ and co-speaker for the… view more

Credit: University of Konstanz

The World Wide Web (WWW) is a shared space that has made the world a smaller place. But has it also become a digital realm for human actors to wage political warfare? Who are these actors and what are the consequences of their cyberattacks? These are some of the questions that Professor Nils Weidmann and his research group “Communication, Networks and Contention” at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz intend to address through their German Research Foundation (DFG) funded research project entitled “A New Political Weapon? Cyberattacks in Non-Democratic Regimes”.

To successfully carry out their research, Professor Nils Weidmann and his project group members will collaborate with experts in Internet measurement from the University of California, San Diego, USA. Together, this team comprised of both computer scientists and researchers in the field of political science will carry out a systematic analysis of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks – a type of cyber-attack used to disable a server by flooding it with superfluous requests – which according to Weidmann “are becoming an important weapon for political conflict both for governments attempting to prevent mobilization, but also by opposition actors attempting to shut down important government targets”.

This interdisciplinary project…

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