Russia’s Hybrid Warfare in the East: Using the Information Sphere as Integral to Hybrid Warfare
Georgetown Journal of International Affairs - International Engagement on Cyber V: Securing Critical Infrastructure, Online, Forthcoming
Posted: 8 Oct 2015
Date Written: October 7, 2015
Future adversaries will increasingly rely on technological means to execute their operations, utilizing cyber capabilities to control or support ‘Hybrid Threats.’ Hybrid Threats are multimodal, low intensity, kinetic as well as non-kinetic threats to international peace and security. Examples of Hybrid Threats include asymmetric conflict scenarios, global terrorism, piracy, transnational organized crime, demographic challenges, resources security, retrenchment from globalization and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Cyber-conflict and cyber-warfare are great examples of the use of new technologies within the scope of Hybrid Threats. Cyber-war refers to a sustained, computer-based cyber-attack by a state (or non-state actor) against the IT infrastructure of a target. The combination of new technology and its availability make cyber-supported or cyber-led Hybrid Threats so potent. Cyber threats strike at the core of modern war fighting by affecting Command and Control abilities, which have become vulnerable to such cyber-attacks.
Russia has been one of the most prolific users of cyber capabilities. In 2007, Russia attempted to disrupt Estonia’s Internet infrastructure as retribution for the country’s removal of a WWII Soviet War Memorial from the center of Tallinn. Russia also augmented its conventional military campaign in Georgia with cyber capabilities, which severely hampered the functioning of government and business websites.
In the present conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Russia has effectively used the information sphere as an integral tool in its Hybrid War against the people of Ukraine.
Keywords: Hybrid War, Cyber Warfare, Russia, Ukraine, Information Sphere, 21st Century Conflict
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