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Category: Lessons of cybersecurity

To war or not to war? Russia’s cyber strategies in Ukraine 2014-22

Had Moscow used cyber operations to substitute kinetic operations in February 2022, we would have seen a full-blown cyber war instead of a conventional invasion. In fact, the consequences of the pre-war period were modest and most of the actions taken seemed to be rushed or poorly planned. Russia failed to achieve its strategic objectives using cyber operations and the Kremlin concluded that its only option was to launch a military campaign.

At the 2013 meeting of senior Russian and American defence officials, General Nikolai Makarov ridiculed the lack of information warfare in the US Cyber Command’s (USCYBERCOM) mission. In his provocative speech he told his counterparts, “one uses information to destroy nations, not networks” and taunted that the omission of information warfare proves the Americans’ ignorance. That was also a clear message about Russian priorities for cyberspace, which were later reflected in Russian strategic documents and also applied in Ukraine in 2022.

February 15, 2023 - Błażej Sajduk Dominika Dziwisz

Putin’s hidden war. How the Kremlin is bombing us on the internet

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been characterised as the first full-scale “social media war”. Russia uses social media to not only spread propaganda but also the “fog of war”. Its efforts aim to both demonise Ukraine in the West and strengthen Russian support for the war.

War propaganda is the deliberate use of factual or fictitious information to sway public opinion and trigger strong feelings like fear, hatred, guilt, adulation or outrage. It has been a crucial tactic of battle throughout history and has evolved into a “necessity” of warfare that can take many different shapes. Even if Russian claims of significant successes over “Ukrainian Nazis” may be mocked in the West, these strategies have been very successful within Russia and among supporters of the country.

February 15, 2023 - Grigol Julukhidze

Friend or foe? The role of social media during Russia’s war in Ukraine

In the era of social divisions, public disputes and widespread polarisation of views, one phenomenon seems indisputable – social media has become an important element of life both in the private and public spheres. Understanding the peculiarities of these tools has also become an important social and business skill. Yet should social media management be considered a political and military competence as well? The Russian war in Ukraine suggests a positive answer. The terms “like”, “share”, “click”, “comment”, “tweet” or “swipe” have begun to have serious consequences and are – literally – a weapon of mass (media) destruction.

February 15, 2023 - Agnieszka Grzechynka

The threat of digital surveillance

Surveillance is nothing new when it comes to authoritarian regimes as it has always been a tool to keep control and maintain order. The rise of digital technologies, however, has made it easier for regimes to monitor and control their populations. But it is not only autocratic governments which have adopted these technologies, adding to the risk of the decline of democracy and freedom.

In July 2021 the international investigative journalist collective known as the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, or OCCRP, revealed that governments around the world – mostly autocratic – were using special highly sophisticated software to spy on journalists, human rights activists, diplomats, politicians and even government officials. The investigation, titled the Pegasus Project, analysed a list of 50,000 phone numbers which was attained by Amnesty International.

February 15, 2023 - Adam Reichardt

Moldova is being forced to adapt to hybrid warfare

Russia’s war against Ukraine proved to the world that battles do not happen only on the ground; they are also taking place online. After Russia’s invasion on February 24th, its neighbours, including Moldova, began facing many challenges: an economic crisis, a refugee influx, an energy crisis and even cyber-attacks.

The date of February 24th 2022 completely changed the life of the whole world, and definitely changed Moldova. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is spreading to this neighbouring country, even though direct attacks are not yet happening. The war in Ukraine has affected all processes in Moldova, especially in the economic sphere, and includes: increased inflation, disruption of all supply chains, the energy crisis, disinformation, propaganda, instability in society and above all, challenges to cybersecurity.

February 15, 2023 - Marina Bzovîi

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