How and why do states use cyber proxies to project power? Why do some states lean closer to these proxies than others, and what does this distance reveal about how a state views them? In this article, Syed Hamza Mannan answers these questions in a review of Tim Maurer’s book, Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power.
Mannan explores the demand for cyber proxies, the mechanisms states use to control them, and the implications of cyber state-proxy relationships. Perhaps Maurer’s most prevalent contribution to the research, articulated in Mannan’s review, is in constructing a framework for characterizing different relationships states maintain with cyber proxies: those of delegation, orchestration, and sanctioning. By applying the framework to contemporary examples of cyber proxy proliferation, Mannan’s review illuminates Maurer’s important work.