What factors drive politically motivated cyberattacks? Our research focuses on one particular kind of cyberattack: politically motivated, distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS). We argue that denial-of-service attacks are a particular form of a larger category of political contention that is more similar to nonviolent than violent activism. We offer a country-level explanation that helps establish why some nation-states are more likely to suffer such attacks while most others are not. When we control for wealth and Internet penetration, the strongest factor explaining why a country is more likely to suffer DDoS attacks is the dangerous combination of repression and a highly educated population. The results have important implications both for the scholarly study of this form of contention, as well as for policymakers grappling with this new form of activism.
Asal, Victor, Jacob Mauslein, Amanda Murdie, Joseph Young, Jen Cousins, and Chris Bronk. 2016. "Repression, Education, and Politically Motivated Cyberattacks." Journal of Global Security Studies (August). http://jogss.oxfordjournals.org/content/1/3/234.abstract