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Cyber BlockadesCyber Blockades

Allison Lawlor Russell

Narrated by John Eastman

Available from Audible

Book published by Georgetown University Press

Cyber Blockades is the first book to examine the phenomena of blockade operations in cyberspace, large-scale attacks on infrastructure or systems that aim to prevent an entire state from sending or receiving electronic data. Cyber blockades can take place through digital, physical, and/or electromagnetic means. Blockade operations have historically been considered acts of war, thus their emergence in cyberspace has significant implications for international law and for our understanding of cyber warfare.

The author defines and explains the emerging concept of "cyber blockades" and presents a unique comparison of blockade operations in five different domains—on land, at sea, in the air, in space, and in cyberspace—identifying common elements as well as important distinctions. Alison Lawlor Russell's framework for defining cyber blockades, understanding how they occur, and considering the motivations of actors who employ them is applied with in-depth analysis of the cyber attacks on Estonia in 2007 and on Georgia during the 2008 Georgia-Russia War.

Blockade operations have occurred in cyberspace and will doubtlessly be used again in the future, by both state and non-state actors alike, because of the unique advantages of this type of attack. This book offers recommendations for policymakers contemplating or confronted by such attacks. Cyber Blockades is also a must-read for scholars and students of security studies, terrorism, substate groups, and the future of warfare.

Allison Lawlor Russell is an assistant professor of Political Science and International Studies at Merrimack College and a non-resident research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses. She holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and has been a lecturer at Boston College and Tufts University.


“Dr. Russell's first book is incisive, timely, and crisply set out. She explores the cutting edge of conflict in cyberspace with a sure hand, drawing on the lessons of cyber blockades affecting both Estonia and Georgia. This is a prescient work exploring the future of conflict in the newest medium and deserves a place on any security expert's shelf.”

—Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), Supreme Allied Commander at NATO 2009-2013 and dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

“Russell's book offers an important and well-argued exploration into the profound differences between a campaign staple—the blockade—in pre-cybered conflict and the complexities of its use in new conflicts emerging today across a deeply cybered international system. The work deftly explains how manipulation, control, or dominance of cyberspace and its associated technologies can be adapted to evolve old methods of attack for the new realities of a world of cybered conflict. In so doing, Russell both challenges and refines the legacy presumptions of current international relations theory. Practitioners, scholars, and students of international relations and national security will greatly benefit from the rich material and theoretical insights in this excellent work.”

—Chris Demchak, professor of strategic research, US Naval War College

Cyber Blockades is an in-depth analysis of the international law on blockades and of its applicability to cyber space. Based on a multi-disciplinary approach, it provides well-founded answers to a wide variety of questions which have occupied scholars and practitioners for the last decade. It is a must for all working in the area of cyber security.”

—Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, Chair of Public International Law, Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt

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University Press Audiobooks