The Reality Of Cyber Warfare

Welcome to the Razorwire podcast. In this episode, we explore cyber warfare. We discuss the challenges of defending against cyber attacks and the power imbalance between nations in the cyber domain. We have some fantastic guests on this week who know a thing or two about this: Oliver Rochford and Victor Acin shed some light on the issue of plausible deniability and the potential consequences of our lack of preparedness for defence in critical infrastructure. We also touch on the psychological and information manipulation aspects of cyber warfare and the difficulties of defending against cyber attacks in a commercial environment. We talk about what needs to be done to incentivise organisations to invest in better protection and if there’s anything that can be done to make the prospect of attacks less appealing to malicious actors. Join us as we explore the reality of cyber warfare!

“No country is able to defend very well in the moment except if you’re not very dependent on your digital infrastructure. Or if you start decoupling. And that, I think, is the thing that we’re seeing with decoupling, and how that will impact future cyber wars is a completely different question as well.”

Oliver Rochford

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In this episode, we covered the following topics:

  • How warfare has developed through the ages, from primitive times to modern day, including the development of new weaponry and the inevitable rise of cyber warfare
  • The power imbalance within cyber warfare, which makes it easier for larger states to attack smaller ones
  • Plausible deniability in cyber warfare and the difficulty in attributing attacks to specific nation states 
  • Cyber warfare vs. ground invasion
  • The potential for cyber attacks to destabilise a populace through social engineering and disinformation campaigns
  • The dangers of echo chambers and the manipulation of information through social media
  • The role of big tech in information manipulation and the lack of trust in media and technology
  • The power of manipulating people and the issue of mistrust in motivating a population during the pandemic
  • The difficulty of gaining investment in national security from investors without an external mechanism to justify it
  • The legality of cyber insurance payouts and the responsibility of businesses in cyber warfare: we question what constitutes an act of war and what happens if the insurance won’t pay out
  • The responsibility of the state to defend private companies from advanced nations in cyber warfare 
  • The need for a unified front between government and business, and the responsibility to provide guidance 

Disclaimer: Please be advised that in the course of our discussion, we would like to clarify that the company mentioned as being breached and subsequently acquired is Panopta, rather than Panoply as previously stated.


Oliver Rochford

Oliver has worked in cyber security as a penetration tester, consultant, researcher, and industry analyst for over 20 years. Interviewed, cited, and quoted by media, think tanks, and academia, he has written for SecurityWeek, CSO Online and Dark Reading. While working at Gartner, he co-named the Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) market, worked on the SIEM Magic Quadrant, and also covered the European MSSP Market. In past lives, Oliver worked for Qualys, Verizon, Gartner,  Tenable and Securonix and is currently Chief Furitist at Tenzir, where he works on product strategy and marketing. 

Victor Acin

Victor Acin has been working in threat intelligence since 2016 and is now leading the Kraken Labs unit at Outpost24, performing tasks related to the generation of threat intelligence (mainly reverse engineering of malicious samples and research of global actors), and the development of the department’s internal products, such as the malware analysis sandbox. In addition, he has also worked as an ethical hacker, performing penetration tests against web applications, external and internal infrastructure, and mobile devices.  

Resources Mentioned

Sun Tzu – Art of War

Facebook report on campaigns targeting army officers from Ukraine

Cambridge Analytica Legal Case

TikTok Ban USA

Other episodes you’ll enjoy

Defence In Depth: Strengthening Your Cyber Security Strategy

Cyber security and Critical Infrastructure: Are We Prepared for the Worst?

Connect with your host James Rees

Hello, I am James Rees, the host of the Razorwire podcast. This podcast brings you insights from leading cyber security professionals who dedicate their careers to making a hacker’s life that much more difficult.

Our guests bring you experience and expertise from a range of disciplines and from different career stages. We give you various viewpoints for improving your cyber security – from seasoned professionals with years of experience, triumphs and lessons learned under their belt, to those in relatively early stages of their careers offering fresh eyes and new insights.

With new episodes every other Wednesday, Razorwire is a podcast for cyber security enthusiasts and professionals providing insights, news and fresh ideas on protecting your organisation from hackers.

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