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Repression, Education, and Politically Motivated Cyberattacks


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.

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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

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