Avskrekke hvem? Betydningen av strategisk kultur for cybersikkerhet

Academic article
Written by

Lars Gjesvik

Research Fellow


Emil Jørgensen Øvrebo

Former employee


There is an ongoing debate in academia about if and how deterrence theory may be used in cyberspace. Deterrence was originally a theory developed for avoiding conventional and nuclear war. In the current discussion on cyber security, there has been pointed out a range of technical problems of transferring a theory about the physical world to cyberspace. We recognize these challenges of deterrence in cyberspace, but in this article we want to shed light on a different aspect of deterrence. That is the interplay between social and technical factors of deterrence in cyberspace. In this article we will discuss how deterrence as a strategy in cyberspace is influenced by the specific strategic culture of a country. We will use China as a case study to showcase our argument. Contrasts between Chinese and “Western” strategic culture results in concrete differences in how Chinese and Western countries act in cyberspace. By utilizing four components of deterrence theory (denial, punishment, entanglement and norms), we will show how an in-depth knowledge of a state’s security policy and strategic culture may be used to tailor a more effective deterrence and enforce the capacity of hindering unwanted activity.