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Understanding your Assignment brief

Sun Tzu 2.0: Is cyberwar the new warfare?

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 5 rules from Sun Tzu’s art of war and explain how they could be reinterpreted and applied to prevent cyber warfare. You will be asked to submit each rule separately, along with your explanation.

Assignment Requirements

This assignment is in 5 tasks. In the submission step you will see Prompts to submit 5 different tasks.

Task Prompts: Choose one rule from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and explain how it can be applied to prevent cyber warfare.

You will be graded on the following criteria:

Grading Criteria: Has the learner selected a rule from the “Art of War” and explained how it can be reinterpreted and applied to prevent cyber warfare.

0 points – The learner has not selected a rule or explained how it can be reinterpreted and applied to prevent cyber warfare. 1 point – The learner has selected a rule and explained how it can be reinterpreted and applied to prevent cyber warfare.

A maximum of 5 points are available. You’ll use the same to grade your peers’ work.

The next step is where you’ll submit your responses to these Task Prompts. You need to submit them all at the same time, so don’t start until you’re ready. You may choose to actually draft your work there, but you may wish to work offline or in a separate tab or document to perfect your ideas before you submit and share with your course peers.

Please note – you’ll be prompted to give your assignment an overall descriptive title. It’s your chance to get creative, or you could keep this simple and descriptive.


Sun Tzu (2009) The Art of War. trans. by Giles, L. [online] available from [5 September 2019]

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
This article is from the free online

Introduction to Network Security and Defence

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