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Deterrence in Cyberspace

Deterrence in cyberspace has been an issue and a concept that many governments and other organizations have used to make sure that dirty or what is considered to be inappropriate content is not portrayed in cyberspace. Deterrence refers to making individuals or groups believe that what they are doing will be of much higher cost to them, therefore dissuading the individuals from getting involved in doing what is not desirable according to the country’s laws regarding cyberspace. There are many ways through which this is done. This paper, therefore, discusses the different ways that deterrence happens within cyberspace, whether it has been successful and how it can be made even better in preventing what is not desirable in society.

One of the ways governments, especially the united states government, performs deterrence is through punishments. This means that anyone who brings information to the internet about a particular issue that America’s united states are against can be punished. For example, if a person beings advertising on selling nuclear bombs, it means that the person has breached security, and it is inevitable that they will be punished (Beeker, 2009). However, at the same time, looking at it from the point of deterrence, a person can easily understand that a person cannot post such because it will cost the person so much. More than just selling the bombs because first they will be arrested and will suffer and even get jailed therefore paying even more and therefore this makes people fear. This makes cyberspace clean (Lilli, 2021).

The other way of deterrence is denial. Deterrence by refusal, therefore, makes the person attacked to realize that they will not benefit very much from the attack. For example, when a country or a person decides to bomb a place through cyberspace, the government can make them believe that it will be worthless to bomb a particular building. Therefore, most of those who wanted to bomb usually do not bomb because what they wanted to achieve cannot be achieved if they realize how worthless it is to attack a particular place. Therefore this type of deterrence makes it very easy and essential for governments to look for what might happen to use the correct form of deterrence to prevent what is undesirable or crimes (Sterner, 2011).

The other type of deterrence is norms to prevent what is not required or what is undesirable from happening. For example, if a government does not want specific resources to be used, it may state that no activity should be done in a particular place due to various reasons. In this type of deterrence, the most important thing is the target of the action. Therefore most of the time, as those who want to push through different negative agendas proceed, government bans access to some crucial aspects. Therefore, due to norms created not only by the government but also by the people, deterrence happens (Nye 2016).

In conclusion, therefore, cyberspace is a place of many issues and activities even though it is complicated to control cyberspace, efforts like the ones mentioned above, which the governments use to deal with deterrence and make sure that public property is protected.


Beeker, K. R. (2009). Strategic Deterrence in Cyberspace: Practical Application. AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT.

Lilli, E. (2021). Redefining deterrence in cyberspace: Private sector contribution to national strategies of cyber deterrence. Contemporary Security Policy, 42(2), 163-188.

Nye Jr, J. S. (2016). Deterrence and dissuasion in cyberspace. International Security, 41(3), 44-71.

Sterner, E. (2011). Retaliatory deterrence in cyberspace. Strategic Studies Quarterly, 5(1), 62-80.