Issue BriefMar 1, 2021
A primer on the proliferation of offensive cyber capabilities
By Winnona DeSombre, Michele Campobasso, Dr. Luca Allodi, Dr. James Shires, JD Work, Robert Morgus, Patrick Howell O’Neill, and Dr. Trey Herr
Offensive cyber capabilities run the gamut from sophisticated, long-term disruptions of physical infrastructure to malware used to target human rights journalists. As these capabilities continue to proliferate with increasing complexity and to new types of actors, the imperative to slow and counter their spread only strengthens.
ReportMar 1, 2021
Countering cyber proliferation: Zeroing in on Access-as-a-Service
By Winnona DeSombre, James Shires, JD Work, Robert Morgus, Patrick Howell O’Neill, Luca Allodi, and Trey Herr
The proliferation of offensive cyber capabilities (OCC) presents an expanding set of risks to states and challenges commitments to protect openness, security, and stability in cyberspace. Access as a Service firms offer various forms of “access” to target data or systems, and through these business practices are creating and selling OCC at an alarming rate. It is imperative that governments reevaluate their approach to countering the proliferation of OCC.
JD Work is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative. He serves as the Bren Chair for Cyber Conflict and Security at the Marine Corps University, where he leads research to develop the theory, practice, and operational art of the cyber warfighting function, and to explore the wider role of the cyber instrument in national security strategy, and the future defense competition and stability problem space.
Mr. Work has over two decades experience working in cyber intelligence and operations roles for the private sector and US government. He previously directed multiple international research programs to provide insight into the emerging strategic issues, economic consequences, and technology implications created by hostilities in the virtual domain. This work has sought to establish a reliable baseline of observations regarding the engagements, follow on effects, capabilities, doctrine, and drivers behind the antagonistic action of potential combatants in the networked environment, in order to support early warning, crisis management and crisis prevention in and through cyberspace.
Mr. Work holds additional affiliations with Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies as well as George Washington University, Elliot School of International Affairs. He further serves as a senior advisor to the US Cyberspace Solarium Commission.