Attribution is hard. “It was Iran.” “It was North Korea.” “The Russians.”…A number of countries and blocs (e.g. NATO/OTAN) consider cyber to be a domain of warfare, warranting a ‘kinetic’ response. If I was a small nation state wanting to run an operation against e.g. the USA, I’d probably choose to launch my attack from compromised assets in somewhere like N. Korea. It’s best if countries can talk to each other directly before the missiles fly…:
[…] This hotline was never the iconic red telephone of TV and movies. At first it was a teletype, then a fax machine, and now email. Initially, its terrestrial phone lines were backed up by a radio link via Tangier in northwestern Morocco. Today, a set of satellite links are backed up by optical fibre.
At least eight other pairs of nations have developed their own hotlines.
Cyber versions of these hotlines are a key recommendation of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), a US government initiative to “develop a consensus on a strategic approach” to defending the nation against “cyber attacks of significant consequences”.
“The US government should develop a multi-tiered signaling [sic] strategy aimed at altering adversaries’ decision calculus and addressing risks of escalation. This signaling strategy should also effectively communicate to allies and partners US goals and intent,” says the CSC’s final report [PDF].