BOOK REVIEW: The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics

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In “Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics,” a comprehensive work spanning three chapters, Ben Buchanan undertakes a significant exploration of the transformative effect that hackers have had on global affairs over the past two decades. Positioned at the intersection of cyberspace and international relations, Buchanan employs the established concepts of “signaling and shaping” from the field of International Relations (IR), which refer to the tactics and activities that governments or other players use to convey their intentions, sway public opinion, and mold geopolitical outcomes. In IR, signaling refers to deliberate acts or signals taken by states or other actors to tell others about their intentions or capacities, affecting perceptions and forming expectations in the process. Contrarily, shaping describes intentional attempts to alter the dynamics, norms, or structure of the international system to bring about outcomes that support one’s strategic goals or interests. For example, in the field of IR, nuclear capabilities are frequently analyzed as signaling mechanisms due to their potential for catastrophic destruction. Similarly, contemporary scholarship suggests that cyber capabilities have become increasingly instrumental for signaling purposes, reflecting the evolving dynamics of international security and diplomacy.


Hacker, Cyber Attacks, Geopolitics


Enescan Lorci, “Ben Buchanan, The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics (Harvard University Press, 2020)”, Uluslararasi Iliskiler, Advanced Online Publication, 24 May 2024, pp. 1-3.


Enescan LORCİ PhD Candidate, Institute of China and Asia-Pacific Studies, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung E-Mail: [email protected] Orcid: 0000-0003-0111-6331

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