Author Biography

Dr. Audrey Guinchard, Senior Lecturer in Law (2009–Present), joined the University of Essex (UK) in October 2000 and is the co-director of the double degree LLB English and French Laws with Master 1/Maîtrise. She has a Licence en droit, an LL.M., and a Ph.D. in criminal law from the University of Jean Moulin (Lyon, France). Her current research focuses on crime and the virtual world as a starting point for a broader perspective on criminal law’s ability to adapt to new technologies. In 2010, she was a visiting fellow at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) in Cambridge as part of the program on The Future University. Bringing a comparative law perspective to bear on criminal law issues, she published notably on hate crimes and on the concept of criminal charges regarding financial services, both in French and in English.


Subject Area Keywords

Counterterrorism, Cybersecurity, Global trends and risks, Information operations, Science and technology & security


Most of the actions that fall under the trilogy of cyber crime, terrorism, and war exploit pre-existing weaknesses in the underlying technology. Because these vulnerabilities that exist in the network are not themselves illegal, they tend to be overlooked in the debate on cyber security. A UK report on the cost of cyber crime illustrates this approach. Its authors chose to exclude from their analysis the costs in anticipation of cyber crime, such as insurance costs and the costs of purchasing anti-virus software on the basis that “these are likely to be factored into normal day-to-day expenditures for the Government, businesses, and individuals. This article contends if these costs had been quantified and integrated into the cost of cyber crime, then the analysis would have revealed that what matters is not so much cyber crime, but the fertile terrain of vulnerabilities that unleash a range of possibilities to whomever wishes to exploit them. By downplaying the vulnerabilities, the threats represented by cyber war, cyber terrorism, and cyber crime are conversely inflated. Therefore, reassessing risk as a strategy for security in cyberspace must include acknowledgment of understated vulnerabilities, as well as a better distributed knowledge about the nature and character of the over-hyped threats of cyber crime, cyber terrorism, and cyber war.

Recommended Citation

Guinchard, Audrey , Ph.D.. “Between Hype and Understatement: Reassessing Cyber Risks as a Security Strategy.” Journal of Strategic Security 4, no. 2 (2011): 75-96.

Journal of Strategic Security