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Sun Tzu’s Art of War

Hopefully, from your discussion, you’ll have noted that societal trends and behaviours can have a massive impact on how secure our data is and will be in the future.

Fortunately, there is a wealth of information on how to outsmart an opponent.

two opposing teams, one in blue t-shirts and the other in red t-shirts playing tug of war

One such source of information is an ancient Chinese military essay from the 5th century BC, ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu, which is considered a classic work on military strategy and tactics.

Beyond the military, the essay has been used widely on how to outsmart opponents in various fields from business to sports (Red Trident Inc. 2019). As warfare moves to cyber space, principles from Sun Tzu’s essay have been used in the cyber security field.

For example, one quote from Sun Tzu:

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles…

Can be reinterpreted as if you ‘think like a hacker’, you’ll be able to see what they see in your vulnerabilities.

Your task

Read Sun Tzu’s Art of War translated by Lionel Giles in 1910 (put online in 2009).

Choose at least 10 rules from Sun Tzu’s art of war and explain how they could be applied to prevent cyber warfare.


Sun Tzu (2009) The Art of War. trans. by Giles, L. [online] available from http://classics.mit.edu/Tzu/artwar.html [5 September 2019]

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This article is from the free online course:

Network Defence Management Overview

Coventry University