The Cyber Arms Watch offers a transparency index on the offensive cyber capabilities of 60 states. It compares the degree to which states are transparent about their declared cyber capabilities to outside perceptions of those capabilities.
In cyber terms, arms control is roughly at the level of the 1950s for nuclear weapons. There is no common understanding of what “cyber weapons” are, or indeed even “cyber forces.” States are left guessing as to the overall capability of another state. This lack of transparency has implications not only for intelligence and national security assessments, but more so for the institutional dialogues and the wider public discussion on international peace and security in cyberspace. A vital ingredient for progress is transparency of the relative cyber capabilities of nations. It helps reduce the scope for misunderstanding, provides for clarity of intent and predictability, and helps establish norms of restraint and communication – all essential ingredients for stability.
The Cyber Arms Watch aims to contribute to international peace and security by developing the first iteration of a “cyber transparency index” that offers insight into the (1) stated and (2) the perceived offensive cyber capabilities of 60 states. The results are visualized as an interactive world map monitor, allowing diplomats, academics, and researchers alike a one-stop comparison of the offensive cyber capabilities of most nations.
Visit Cyber Arms Watch – HCSS to view the interactive monitor and to access the report and its underlying data.
Contributors: Louk Faesen, Alexander Klimburg (former Cyber Program Director at HCSS), Michel Rademaker, Saskia Heyster. And (former) assistant analysts Simon van Hoeve, Raffaele Minicozzi, Salome Petit Siemens and Giulia Tesauro.