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Defence Against the Dark Arts

Cyber security has been compared to medieval witchcraft; driven on ignorance, guilt and fear such that doctrine and magic amulets can be sold for protection.

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that:

if you truly want to understand the problem, you need to make it bigger.

And when it comes to cyber security, we have been admiring this problem as it grows for quite some time. Patching and praying as best practice, reacting and responding to incidents with emergency management and silence. We have established failure as the starting point to our strategy, ensuring disaster continuity and allowing norms of behaviour to reach the threshold just below armed conflict. A doctrine of restraint has lead to increased aggression and emboldenment. Resiliency is important, but part of the answer is to defend forward.

Meanwhile, Canada’s allies have adopted a strategy of Persistent Engagement; requiring continuous execution of full-spectrum cyber operations to contest an adversary objectives and deny superiority. This involves an anticipatory proactive campaign focused on defending forward to impose cumulative costs on the adversary and establish norms of behaviour. Persistent Engagement burns through cyber defence tools and packages and thus requires a robust (sovereign) industrial capability to sustain an active defence.

“We are having a narrowband discussion in a broadband world.”

Changing demographics, resource competition, environmental stresses, globalization, economics, governance, urbanization, geopolitics, the unprecedented advancement in science and technology, are significant trends shaping the future cyber security environment.

The contest to control and influence the fabric of cyberspace will be as significant as the Manhattan project and the space race.

Grim dark[1]

There is a dark side of intelligent connectivity that starts with the weaponization of the system as dramatic as escalation from conventional to nuclear. 5G will constitute the largest Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) platform on the planet. With AI being brought so close to the core to configure 5G network slicing and other processes, any threat to the AI’s independence could have devastating cyber-physical consequences.[2]AI can be manipulated through adversarial learning campaigns that feed ML systems deceptive inputs. Meanwhile the combination of these technologies can engineer planet-destroying IoT botnets. Russia and China are already weaponizing 5G and AI as they are directly targeting Canada in these areas.

The Cyber Terrain

Competition, conflict and war between states is occurring on cyber terrain owned, operated and controlled by the private sector. If industry is on the front-lines, civil society is operating forward in contested space. Civil society organizations (CSOs) have been the most heavily targeted entities by nation states such as Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Iraq and Israel.

Multi-stake-holder engagement is essential. Canada need to engage in Cyber Norms discussions involving Deterrence, Escalation, Persistent Engagement, Cyber Stability, Economics, and World Order.

“If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are on the menu.”

Canada is further obligated to defend Canada from cyber attack under NATO Treaty Article 3 which required members to maintain and develop an effective capacity to resist cyber attacks against their own nation’s critical infrastructure.


Russia the biggest troll in Cyberspace. State-run troll farms have been implicated in antagonizing polarized discussions online, undermining liberal democracies, interfering in elections, stirring-up the anti-vax movement, climate change deniers, sowing fractured narratives, and violently attacking anti-doping organizations, and spraying a fire hose of falsehoods around the safety of 5G[3]to sabotage industrial growth of Canada. Technologies like 5G represent the vital high ground.

Armed Conflict

Cyber has already breached the threshold of armed conflict. US agencies modified control software of a Canadian supplier to trigger largest conventional explosion in history and demolished a Russian Pipeline. Stuxnet malware physically destroyed the Iranian Nuclear Weapons program. In May 2019, Israel pre-empted a Cyber attack with kinetic air strike and tweeted "HamasCyberHQ.exe has been removed. Russia has used offensive cyber to both target kinetically, lure aircraft off-course and try to run ships aground.

Noble bright[4]

By 2030, three-quarters of the world’s population will live in 41 mega smart cities - making urbanized warfare unavoidable.These cities will be the most densely sensored environments on the planet - with 1 million devices per square km. Each of these devices could have more bandwidth than the entire Internet connectivity of a typical business or government department today.

The largest mobile device that you will own, will be your car.

Cyber will permeate space platforms, ships will behave as floating datacentres, aircraft will look like software in the cloud, and soldier systems act as fog computing. The hardware, software and wetware in these domains will be seen as end-points to an Internet-of-Everything – accessible at the speed-of-cyber.

Entanglement of 5G-IoT-AI-QC.

Disruptive technology of: 5G, Artificial intelligence, big data, mobile communications, nanotechnology, quantum computing, cloud, social networking and the Internet-of-Things, are on a converging trend line - the emergent effect of which will be far greater than the sum of their parts.

Artificial intelligence (AI), 5th Generation networks, Massive Internet-of-Things (mIoT) and Quantum Computingare promising a sea change in scientific advancement. The components are individually powerful, but the whole will be the stuff of imagination.The emergent[5]effects from the entanglement of these technologies will create the perfect storm.[6]

With great change comes great uncertainty. The complexity and speed of 5G will require AI to manage the infrastructure. The IoT will proliferate 5G dramatically. AI will capitalize the big data universe provided by IoT and 5G while quantum computing deliver faster computing and deeper sensoring.


Specifically, we foresee a continued weaponization of cyberspace, the build-up of offensive capabilities of nation states and a consolidation of darkweb territory by transnational crime that is supported by adversary states. Ultimately leading to increased competition and conflict in contested space, thus raising the threshold of armed conflict.

Canada likely find themselves involved in a hybrid, irregular, and asymmetric conflict. In this future, leading with soft power, cyber and influence may be the preferred options.

Meanwhile, the gap between offensive capabilities and a traditional cyber security response will continue to widen.

Foreign militaries have overrun networks of importance to Canada, purposefully interfered critical infrastructure, influenced and subverted the democratic process. Criminal enterprises are operating with the duplicity of these same states. Electronic deception and disruption have imperilled life. Russian close-access teams have operated against a Canadian-based institution and conducted targeted assassinations. Canadians have been imprisoned abroad as political retribution for 5G power-struggle. Kinetic strikes have been used to eliminate and adversary’s cyber capability and target malware has been deployed against nuclear weapons faculties and pipelines to generate destructive effect. Full-spectrum informationaized warfare is upon us.

In the future, Hostile Intelligence Services and Militaries will continue to exploit, interfere with and influence Canadian interests domestically and abroad using cyber as part of a broader hybrid warfare campaign. The solution will require attribution, credible deterrence, swift, consequential and coordinated response by government and industry. Establishing norms of behaviour will be a joint effort with the private sector.

The asymmetric nature Internet technology, places sophisticated offensive cyber capabilities in the hands of most nations and non-state actors. Industrial capability is becoming weaponized. Russia and China will continue to compete aggressively against Canada in this space just below the threshold of armed conflict.

The criminal underworld supported by nation states like Russia, seeking greater control. Most crimes will undetected and underreported. Law-enforcement will be challenged to gain traction without cooperative military involvement, industry partnerships and social awareness.

Hope punk[7]

Strategic deterrence and ‘forechecking’ will need a credible offensive capability and persistent engagement in which to project power and influence globally and throughout Cyberspace in the defence of Canada.

Attribution will likely remain the hardest problem for cyber but is also the most necessary for active cyber defence and as a legal imperative for any effective countermeasure.

The future will see the continued diffusion of power and influence from nation-states to non-traditional actors, particularly in cyberspace. The domain is already predominantly owned and operated by private sector. Industry owns the much of the terrain, technology and talent. Hence, civil society and industry will remain the proxy target of nation-states and have been decisively engaged against sophisticated actors for decades. As consequence those most affected in industry have evolved a highly-capable active cyber defence capability.

A hunt and adversary pursuit capability at its core is seen as an effective counter and deterrence to pacing threats in cyber space.

Cyber defence is a team sport and what is clear is that industry and government need to collaborate intentionally.


Clairvoyance Cyber Corp engages in interdisciplinary thinking, strategic listening, over-the-horizon technology forecasting and the incubation of advanced ideas and solutions. We apply advanced data science, anticiptory intelligence and creativity towards solving tomorrow’s challenging and complex poly-disciplined problems, delivering contextualized narratives and actionable insights in a World described by data.

[1] Grim Dark is a subgenre of speculative fiction with a tone, style, or setting that is particularly dystopian, amoral, or violent. In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.

[2]Digital Double Helix: Why the Fates of 5G and AI are Intertwined. Marin Ivezic, Published on May 9, 2019


[4]Noble Bright is a subgenre of fantasy fiction involving a heroic quest and good triumphing over evil.

[5]Emergence is the tendency of an entity to develop higher properties that are not present in any of its constituent parts. By combining their energies, the individual parts give birth to something that transcends their potential while including their value. Emergence is always present when evolution takes a leap forward.

[6]Digital Double Helix: Why the Fates of 5G and AI are Intertwined, Marin Ivezic, Published on May 9, 2019

[7]Hope punk weaponizes optimism and encourages us to keep fighting, no matter what. Kindness and softness doesn’t equal weakness, and that in this world of brutal cynicism and nihilism, being kind is a political act.

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