The Rise of the Anti-State Cyber-Warrior


We have all heard about young men (and they do seem to be almost all men) who it is said have become anti-social, who spend most of their time at computers, on the internet, with few friends, seeming of little value to greater society.

But is this really a correct view of these men?

Are we beginning to see that these computer freaks are much like caterpillars that first form cocoons that we barely notice and then turn into beautiful butterflies?

Are these computer freaks coming out of their cocoons and emerging as a new class of warrior ready to do battle against the state, armed with superior minds, armed with minds that think very logically–minds that can out think the state?

It appears so.

These warriors fight on a new platform, a platform the state does not understand. I have seen the thinking of the state’s workers up close. They may see the results of some of what the cyber-warriors have created, but they don’t come close to understanding the creations of the cyber-warriors and they are far, far from understanding where the creations might lead.

When you are doing battle against an opponent that doesn’t understand the degree that you are already engaged in battle, you have a distinct advantage. The cyber-warriors have this advantage. They may not succeed in every battle and or every method of attack, but that is the nature of battle.

William Lind has taught us how established military command fails to see new and developing advances that occur in generational war. Indeed, cyber-war is so different that it appears that Lind has not even detected it—and if anyone from a conventional war perspective would spot such a new direction in battle it would be Lind.

So what is it about this new direction in war that makes it so different? First, it is not a battle that is waged by governments against other governments. It is a battle of the individual against the state. It has a very libertarian streak. It is a battle that the state has a difficult time protecting against because it has a difficult time understanding from where an attack might emerge and it has a difficult time understanding the nature of the attack once the attack itself is observable.

Among current, early cyber-warriors leading attacks, I have in mind such men as Julian Assange, creator of Wikileaks, Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous developer of Bitcoin and Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower.

What is important to understand is that all three have superior programming skills and appear to be able to out think government moves and to counter them. It is perhaps not by accident that they are able to make counter moves. Their development as programmers surely required them to think in very logical, disciplined clearly thought out steps. A discipline that proves of great value in battling the state. I repeat, they are all unlikely to be successful in their attacks, but the attacks will keep on coming. The moves by Assange, Nakamoto and Snowden will surely act as catalysts that will encourage other cyber-warriors to emerge from their cocoons. The direction of attacks, and methods, of course, will be hard to determine in advance, that’s what cyber-generation war is all about. The state should be very worried.