Cyber hegemony and information warfare: A case of Russia
Keywords:CISA, NATO, crowd strike, cyber-attacks, cyber espionage, cyber security, fifth generation warfare, malware, Russian report, Solar Winds, unconventional warfare
The world has shifted to a digital landscape in the recent decade with both its perks and underlying threats. Russia, throughout history has experimented with its information along with cyber channels and have been able to generate fruitful results that are manifested in the contemporary era. Russian expertise towards merging cyber domain into its military capabilities is praiseworthy to the point that its Western adversaries, despite the fact being economically and technologically advanced compared to Russia, have not been able to effectively counter Russian aggression. This research examines the essentiality of cyber security as a mere software or cyber command can create instability and drastic consequences requiring millions for clean-up by examining Russian cyber-attacks on Estonia, Georgia, Ukraine, US and Western Europe and concludes that the first steps towards Cyber and Information Warfare have been made, it is now to be made sure this does not escalate into a Cyber Arms Race. The research recommends that cyber security should be treated as an international issue with rules established for cyber governance and databases identifying cyber criminals and the software used by them or can be used by them and requires cooperation rather than competition amongst states particularly global superpowers.
Alatalu, S., Borogan, I., Chernenko, E., Herpig, S., Jonsson, O., Kurowska, X., Limnell, J., Pawlak, P., Pernik, P., Reinhold, T., Reshetnikov, A., Soldatov, A., & Vilmer, J.-B. J. (2018). NATO’s responses to cyberattacks. In N. Popescu & S. Secrieru (Eds.), Hacks, Leaks and Disruptions: Russian Cyber Strategies (pp. 95–102). European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS). http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep21140.13
Baezner, M., & Robin, P. (2018). Cyber and information warfare in the Ukrainian conflict. CSS Cyber Defense Project, 5–24. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322364443.
Blank, S. (2017). Cyber war and information War à la Russe. In G. Perkovich & A. E. Levite (Eds.), Understanding Cyber Conflict: 14 Analogies (pp. 81–98). Georgetown University.
Bowen, A. S. (2020). Russian armed forces: Military doctrine and strategy. Congressional Research Service. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/IF11625.pdf
Cerulus, L. (2019, February 14). How Ukraine became a test bed for cyber weaponry. Politico.eu. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-cyber-war-frontline-russia-malware-attacks/amp/
Connell, M., & Vogler, S. (2017, March). Russia's approach to cyber warfare. CNA Analysis and Solutions. https://www.cna.org/cna_files/pdf/DOP-2016-U-014231-1Rev.pdf.
Craig, A., & Valeriano, B. (2018, February 3). Realism and cyber conflict: Security in the digital age. E-International Relations. https://www.e-ir.info/2018/02/03/realism-and-cyber-conflict-security-in-the-digital-age/
Ellehuus, R., & Ruy, D. (2021, March 5). Did Russia influence Brexit? Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). https://www.csis.org/blogs/brexit-bits-bobs-and-blogs/did-russia-influence-brexit
Flynn, M. J. (2019). Strategic cyber: Responding to Russian information warfare. The Cyber Defense Review Special Edition: International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CYCON U.S.), 193–208. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26846128.
Greenberg, A. (2019). Sandworm: A new era of cyberwar and the hunt for the Kremlin's most dangerous hackers. Knopf Doubleday Publishing.
Hanna, K. T., Ferguson, K., & Rosencrance, L. (2019, May 28). What is cyberwarfare? Searchsecurity.https://www.google.com/amp/s/searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/cyberwarfare%3famp=1.
Jamieson, K. H. (2018). Cyberwar: How Russian hackers and trolls helped elect a President what we don't, can't, and do know. Oxford University.
Kelly, M. L., & Bowman, E. (2016, December 10). CIA Concludes Russian Interference Aimed to Elect Trump. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/12/10/505072304/cia-concludes-russian-interference-aimed-to-elect-trump.
Korolov, M. (2021, February 4). What is a supply chain attack? Why to be wary of third-party providers. CSO Online. https://www.csoonline.com/article/3191947/supply-chain-attacks-show-why-you-should-be-wary-of-third-party-providers.html.
Lester, P., & Moore, S. (2020). Responding to the cyber threat: A UK military perspective. Connections: The Quarterly Journal, 19(1), 39-44. https://doi.org/10.11610/connections.19.1.04 DOI: https://doi.org/10.11610/Connections.19.1.04
Lilly, B., Cheravitch, J. (2020). The past, present, and future of Russia’s cyber strategy and forces. 12th International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CyCon), 129–155. https://doi.org/10.23919/cycon49761.2020.9131723 DOI: https://doi.org/10.23919/CyCon49761.2020.9131723
Limnell, J., Alatalu, S., Borogan, I., Chernenko, E., Herpig, S., Jonsson, O., Kurowska, X., Pawlak, P., Pernik, P., Reinhold, T., Reshetnikov, A., Soldatov, A., & Vilmer, J.-B. J. (2018). Russian cyber activities in the EU. In N. Popescu & S. Secrieru (Eds.), Hacks, leaks and disruptions: Russian cyber strategies (pp. 65–74). European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS). http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep21140.10
Lobell, S. E. (2017). Structural realism/offensive and defensive realism. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190846626.013.304 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190846626.013.304
Mankoff, J. (2014). Russia’s latest land grab: How Russia won Crimea and lost Ukraine. Foreign Affairs, 93(3), 60–68. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24483406.
McDermott, R. (2016, November 18). Russia's 2015 National Security Strategy. Jamestown. https://jamestown.org/program/russias-2015-national-security-strategy/.
MFA Russia. (2016, December 5). Doctrine of Information Security of the Russian Federation. MFA Russia. https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/official_documents/-/asset_publisher/CptICkB6BZ29/content/id/2563163.
NATO. (2021, May 26). Cyber defense. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_78170.htm
Nbc News. (2005, April 5). Putin: Soviet collapse a 'genuine tragedy'. nbcnews.com. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/wbna7632057.
Pernik, P., Alatalu, S., Borogan, I., Chernenko, E., Herpig, S., Jonsson, O., Kurowska, X., Limnell, J., Pawlak, P., Reinhold, T., Reshetnikov, A., Soldatov, A., & Vilmer, J.-B. J. (2018). The early days of cyberattacks: the cases of Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine. In N. Popescu & S. Secrieru (Eds.), Hacks, leaks and disruptions: Russian cyber strategies (pp. 53–64). European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS). http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep21140.9
Peters, A., & MacConaghy, P. (2021). Unpacking US cyber sanctions. Third Way. http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep30835
Phillips, M. (2019, December 18). Russia hack claims: What is the cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)? foxnews.com. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxnews.com/politics/russia-hack-claims-what-is-the-cybersecurity-infrastructure-security-agency-cisa.amp.
Popovici, A. (2018, July 12). Why Russia wants Crimea. history.com. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.history.com/.amp/news/crimea-russia-ukraine-annexation.
Rocha, M., & da-Fonseca, D. F. (2019). The cyber issue and realist thinking. R. Esc. Guerra Nav, 25(2), 517-543. https://doi.org/10.21544/1809-3191.v25n2.p 517-543 DOI: https://doi.org/10.21544/1809-3191.v25n2.p517-543
Soliman, T. A., Simon, D. A., De, R., Hungerford, J., Ito, Y., Lev, O., Nadadur, A. D., & Silverstein, J. M. (2021, April 20). Biden Administration Announces Expansion of Sanctions Against Russia and Signals Potential Additional Restrictions Following SolarWinds Cyber-Attack: Perspectives Events. Mayer Brown. https://www.mayerbrown.com/en/perspectives-events/publications/2021/04/biden-administration-announces-expansion-of-sanctions-against-russia-and-signals-potential-additional-restrictions-following-solarwinds-cyber-attack
Tumkevi?, A. (2018). Uncertain security community: Building Western cyber security order. Journal of Information Warfare, 17(1), 74–86. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26504130.
Vaughan-Nichols, S. J. (2021, January 4). SolarWinds: The more we learn, the worse it looks. ZDNet. https://www.zdnet.com/article/solarwinds-the-more-we-learn-the-worse-it-looks/?_amp_linker=1%2Ac37si5%2Aid%2ASFJxYS0yVnlsSjc4RW1MQllyVnhBWkxXekwzZmM5eHl2aXo1QkJVc1RnQXNHZWZDUy0zRGRPWURXWFRGSmZCRA..#ftag=CAD-00-10aag7e.
Vilmer, J.-B. J., Alatalu, S., Borogan, I., Chernenko, E., Herpig, S., Jonsson, O., Kurowska, X., Limnell, J., Pawlak, P., Pernik, P., Reinhold, T., Reshetnikov, A., & Soldatov, A. (2018). Lessons from the Macron leaks. In N. Popescu & S. Secrieru (Eds.), Hacks, leaks and disruptions: Russian cyber strategies (pp. 75–84). European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS). http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep21140.11
Wohlforth, W. C. (2008). Realism. Oxford Handbooks Online. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199219322.003.0007 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199219322.003.0007
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Asma Rashid, Anum Yar Khan, Syed Wasif Azim
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Licensing & Copyright Policies
Articles in LASSIJ-IDEA are Open Access contents published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) http://
The copyright policy of LASSIJ-IDEA is based on a non-exclusive publishing agreement, according to which the journal retains the right of first publication, but the author(s) are free to subsequently publish their work. The copyright of all work rests with the author(s).
The users may use, reproduce, disseminate or display the article(s) provided that the author(s) are attributed as the original creators and that the reuse is restricted to non-commercial purposes, i.e., research or other educational use. Authors are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the various creative commons licenses.