Thomas Reinhold successfully defended his dissertation “Towards a Peaceful Development of Cyberspace – Challenges and Technical Measures for the De-escalation of State-led Cyberconflicts and Arms Control of Cyberweapons” at the Department of Computer Science at the Technological University of Darmstadt on 15 September 2023.
In recent years, cyberspace has become an important venue for military operations and has found its way into security and defence strategies of states. However, various approaches to regulate and contain the technologies used by the military and its potential for conflict and escalation are not applicable in cyberspace. The dissertation therefore examines possible measures to control cyber weapons and de-escalate state-led cyber conflicts from a technical perspective, as well as the underlying political challenges of state behaviour and international humanitarian law in cyberspace.
Based on proof-of-concept approaches for, for example, a classification system for cyber weapons or the plausible assurance of non-participation in a cyber conflict as a measure for de-escalation, the dissertation opens up a new discussion on how and with which measures arms control and conflict reduction can function in cyberspace. The dissertation thus also provides impulses for the responsibility and the possibilities of computer science with regard to a peaceful development and use of cyberspace.
The supervisor and first examiner of the dissertation was Prof. Dr. Dr. Christian Reuter. The co-examiner was Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Roth (Department of Secure Identity at the Free University of Berlin). The disputation with the referees and the other examiners Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Schneider (Practical Cryptography and Privacy) and Prof. Dr. Jörn Kohlhammer (Information Visualisation and Visual Analytics) took place under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Koch (Embedded Systems and Applications).