Over at the Council on Foreign Relations‘ Net Politics blog, Ben Buchanan, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Cybersecurity Project, provides a summary of his forthcoming book, The Cybersecurity Dilemma.

Cover image of The Cybersecurity Dilemma by Ben Buchanan.The TL;DR is that Dr. Buchanan has applied to cybersecurity the concept of the security dilemma, which was identified as far back as the writings of Thucydides. The security dilemma

refers to a situation in which actions by a state intended to heighten its security, such as increasing its military strength or making alliances, can lead other states to respond with similar measures, producing increased tensions that create conflict, even when no side really desires it.

Though cybersecurity does offer some new and unique challenges, nonetheless, Buchanan argues that the concept still applies to cybersecurity.

This sounds correct to me. One of my criticisms of the public policy debate about cybersecurity and cyberwarfare in the United States has been that we too often treat these as so new and unprecedented that we incorrectly believe that we have no existing base of knowledge that is adequate for guiding out thinking.

In short, not everything under the sun is new. And even when faced with new situations, sometimes very old ideas can still be useful. I look forward to reading Dr. Buchanan’s book.