2023 Conference on International Cyber Security | 7-8 November 2023
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Panel 7


Cyber Conflict: Strategies and Realities

Myriam Dunn Cavelty

Myriam Dunn Cavelty is a senior lecturer for security studies and deputy for research and teaching at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Her research and teaching focuses on how digital technologies influence political behaviour and societal values and on how and why specific arrangements to govern the use of digital technologies emerge, with particular attention to how technologies are embedded in social, political, and economic processes. In addition to her teaching, research and publishing activities, she advises governments, international institutions and companies in the areas of cyber security, cyber warfare, critical infrastructure protection, risk analysis and strategic foresight. She is one of the editors-in-chief of the journal Contemporary Security Policy.


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Max Smeets

Max Smeets is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich and Director of the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative. He is the author of 'No Shortcuts: Why States Struggle to Develop a Military Cyber- Force’ (Oxford University Press & Hurst Publishers, 2022) and co-editor of ‘Deter, Disrupt or Deceive? Assessing Cyber Conflict as an Intelligence Contest’ (Georgetown University Press, 2023) and 'Cyberspace and Instability' (Edinburgh University Press, 2023).


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Tobias Pulver

Tobias Pulver is a PhD candidate at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich. He holds a Master’s degree in Comparative and International Studies from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. His Master’s thesis investigated the impacts of foreign cyber-enabled disinformation influence efforts targeting democracies. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Zurich, Tobias co-founded the Effective Altruism Foundation, where he worked on projects in the areas of global health and development, animal welfare, and risks from advanced artificial intelligence over the course of five years.

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Doomed if we do, doomed if we don’t: Cyber conflict research between disciplinary ambitions and interdisciplinary flexibility

In recent years, the field of cyber conflict studies has witnessed a surge in scholarly productivity, indicating a potential "Golden Age" for the discipline. This paper aims to critically examine the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological aspects of cyber conflict research to assess its impact and address the challenges it faces. By conducting a systematic review of cyber conflict articles published in a top-150 political science journal between 1990 and 2022, this study utilizes bibliometric and methodological analyses to identify key articles, thematic topics, prevalent research methods, and areas for future development. The findings shed light on two primary observations: the focus on theoretical and conceptual work at the expense of empirical research, and the dilemma between disciplinary acceptance and the demand for policy-oriented, interdisciplinary approaches.