As cyberspace has emerged as a new frontier for geopolitics, states have become entrepreneurial in their sponsorship, deployment, and exploitation of hackers as proxies to project power. Such modern-day mercenaries and privateers can impose significant harm undermining global security, stability, and human rights.

In a new book, Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power, Tim Maurer examines these state-hacker relationships and the important questions they raise about the control, authority, and use of offensive cyber capabilities. Drawing on case studies in the United States, Iran, Syria, Russia, and China, the book establishes a framework to better understand and manage the impact and risks of cyber proxies on global politics. Maurer was joined in conversation by Eric Rosenbach, and Ellen Nakashima moderated.

Ellen Nakashima

Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for the Washington Post. She covers issues relating to cybersecurity, surveillance, counterterrorism, and intelligence.

Eric Rosenbach

Eric Rosenbach is co-director of the Belfer Center at the Harvard Kennedy School. He also heads the Center’s Defending Digital Democracy project. He previously served as chief of staff to former U.S. secretary of defense Ashton B. Carter and as assistant secretary of defense.

Tim Maurer

Tim Maurer is co-director of the Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His work focuses on cyberspace and international affairs, namely cybersecurity, human rights online, and Internet governance.