Cyber War Research Group: Korea Crisis


Research Group on Cyber War and Peace Launched as Korea Crisis Looms

Senior academics at UNSW Canberra today announced the creation of a Research Group on Cyber War and Peace as the prospect of new cyber attacks against and by North Korea looms large.

 “The North Korean Crisis is the first military crisis where cyber attacks against nuclear capable ballistic missiles will play an important part”, Professor Greg Austin observed. “This is why we are announcing today the formalisation of the Research Group.”

 "Australia’s military and security interests are directly involved in the unfolding crisis”, Austin said. “Both sides will be planning cyber attacks against the civil infrastructure of the other, and In North Korea’s case, against allies of the United States, like South Korea and Japan.”

 According to Professor Slay, “Cyber attacks provide the United States with important opportunities to degrade the legitimacy of the North Korean regime without unleashing massive kinetic attacks using bombs and missiles, since such attacks will be more unpredictable in their political consequences.”

A Research Group at UNSW provides an opportunity to consolidate existing research and education programs at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS). The centre set up Australia’s first Master’s degree in cyber war and peace in 2016, a degree which has few peers in the world. Courses include Cyber Security in Asia (including Korean issues); Cyber Policy in China; and Australian Cyber Forces. Students have enrolled in the degree from Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States and other regional countries.

Slay and Austin have lead research work on these military cyber issues for a number of years.

Austin is also a Professorial Fellow with the EastWest Institute based in New York, where as Vice President he led the establishment of its global cyber security initiative beginning in 2009.  He has worked on cyber military policy of the great powers since 2010, and briefed the Nuclear Safety Knowledge Summit in The Hague in 2014 on the Institute’s work on cyber attacks against civil nuclear power plants, a particular challenge for South Korea in the current crisis. Austin is co-author of a paper with a Russian scholar on the impact of cyber weapons on strategic nuclear stability.