Cyber Warfare

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Cyber warfare involves the actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation's computers or information networks through, for example, computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks. RAND research provides recommendations to military and civilian decisionmakers on methods of defending against the damaging effects of cyber warfare on a nation's digital infrastructure.

  • World map, connected people icons, and binary code, image by bluebay2014/Fotolia

    Commentary

    War on the Web

    Jul 23, 2015

    While the U.S. Cyber Command is preparing the nation's defenses for the coming ramp-up in cyberwarfare-like attacks, the messages spread instantly by hordes of attackers through social media may not be receiving the attention they deserve.

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    Report

    Training Cyber Warriors: Lessons from Defense Language Training

    Mar 16, 2015

    To ensure the U.S. Department of Defense has sufficient numbers of skilled cyber workers, it may need to develop additional training approaches as it plans for broader recruiting and workforce management. Examining how DoD handles foreign language training yields lessons that could be applied to cyber training.

Explore Cyber Warfare

  • Department of Homeland Security researchers work at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, April 28, 2010

    Tool

    A Framework for Programming and Budgeting for Cybersecurity

    When defending an organization, cybersecurity professionals must choose from a large set of defensive measures while operating with a limited set of resources. What is the menu of actions for defending against an attack? And how can defenders navigate the selection process?

    Jan 20, 2016

  • A row of Iranian flags in front of the Tehran skyline

    Commentary

    Iran: A Rising Cyber Power?

    Iran is a country with revisionist tendencies that has accumulated enemies. This has impelled it to develop techniques to keep them at bay. Cyber, in some circumstances, is a particularly cost-effective way of doing so.

    Dec 16, 2015

  • Protesters from the online activist group Anonymous

    Commentary

    Anonymous vs. ISIS: Wishing the Vigilante Hackers Luck Against the Murderous Jihadists

    While ISIL uses the Internet to recruit fighters and incite violence, the Anonymous counter initiative could lower the volume of the online echo chamber, and yield support for the war against ISIL and its extremist ilk.

    Dec 14, 2015

  • Close-up view on white conceptual keyboard - European Union (key with flag)

    Project

    Cybersecurity in the European Union and Beyond: Exploring the Threats and Policy Responses

    A study of cybersecurity threats in the EU identified and assessed key cyber-threats facing the EU and the challenges associated with their identification; the main cybersecurity capabilities in the EU and US; the current state of transnational cooperation; and perceptions of the effectiveness of the current EU response.

    Nov 18, 2015

  • Close-up view on white conceptual keyboard - European Union (key with flag)

    Report

    Exploring Cybersecurity Threats and Policy Responses in the EU and Beyond

    Existing cybersecurity measures in the EU are fragmented, largely due to gaps in operational capabilities as well as strategic priorities of Member States. However, there are many policy options that may improve the EU's overall cybersecurity approach.

    Nov 18, 2015

  • A U.S. Air Force airman works at the 561st Network Operations Squadron, which executes defensive cyber operations

    Commentary

    The Two Sides of Cybersecurity

    Securing government networks is certainly necessary, but authorities should not lose sight of the need to couple their defense of America's networks with appropriate resources dedicated to combatting criminal, terrorist, and other threats in cyberspace.

    Nov 13, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Deterrence, Influence, Cyber Attack, and Cyberwar

    This study uses a simple model to speculate about whether deterrence can be a significant part of dealing with special features of the cyber attack challenge, and distinguishing different classes and contexts of cyber threats.

    Nov 13, 2015

  • Research Brief

    Cybersecurity of Air Force Weapon Systems: Ensuring Cyber Mission Assurance Throughout a System's Life Cycle

    Discusses how the Air Force acquisition/life-cycle management community can improve cybersecurity throughout the life cycle of Air Force weapon systems.

    Oct 27, 2015

  • An F-15 flying over Nevada during a USAFWS Mission Employment Exercise

    Report

    Improving the Cybersecurity of U.S. Air Force Weapon Systems

    U.S. Air Force weapon systems containing information technology may be vulnerable to intelligence exploitation and cyberattacks. But there are steps that the Air Force can take to improve the security of these systems throughout their life cycles.

    Oct 27, 2015

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    Multimedia

    United States and China: Trends in Military Competition

    In this October 2015 congressional briefing, Eric Heginbotham discusses relative U.S. and Chinese military capabilities, including the evolution of Chinese military capabilities, steps the United States can take to limit the impact of a growing Chinese military on deterrence, and other U.S. strategic interests.

    Oct 5, 2015

  • Joint service and civilian personnel concentrate on exercise scenarios during "Cyber Guard 2015."

    Testimony

    Perspective on 2015 DoD Cyber Strategy

    The DoD's cyber strategy is aligned with its mission, but there will be challenges to implementation—including building and maintaining a capable workforce, assessing risk across DoD networks and systems, and planning for operations.

    Sep 29, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands following a joint news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington September 25, 2015

    Commentary

    Define Acceptable Cyberspace Behavior

    While a U.S.-China cyberspace agreement is a welcome step, it also underscores the greater issues facing the United States and the international community in this largely ungoverned space. A precondition for securing U.S. networks should be the development of an overarching cyber doctrine that defines acceptable behavior and allows the U.S. to defend its networks against threats.

    Sep 27, 2015

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Boeing in Everett, Washington, September 23, 2015

    Commentary

    The U.S.-China Summit Is More Significant for Xi Jinping Than Obama

    The Xi-Obama summit will provide the opportunity to discuss contentious issues like cybersecurity and the South China Sea, as well as other issues, such as climate change and economic cooperation. For Xi, the visit underscores the tremendous importance of messaging to a Chinese audience the narrative of a continued stable and robust partnership with the country that matters most to China politically and economically.

    Sep 24, 2015

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    Multimedia

    Lessons from a Hacker: Cyber Concepts for Policymakers

    In this September 14th congressional briefing, Lillian Ablon discusses the basics of cyber and information security and provides insights into some of the complexities of cybersecurity policymaking. Topics include why software vulnerabilities are significant, the components of cyber risk beyond the threat, motivations of various cyber threats actors, and what they exploit.

    Sep 14, 2015

  • News Release

    China's Military Modernization Increasingly Challenges U.S. Defense Capabilities in Asia

    Although China continues to lag behind the United States in terms of aggregate military hardware and operational skills, it has improved its capabilities relative to those of the U.S. in many critical areas. Moreover, China does not need to catch up fully in order to challenge U.S. ability to conduct effective military operations near the Chinese mainland.

    Sep 14, 2015

  • U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chinese army Gen. Fang Fenghui, China's chief of the general staff, salute during a ceremony in Beijing, April 22, 2013

    Research Brief

    Tallying the U.S.-China Military Scorecard

    A set of “scorecards” assesses the relative capabilities of U.S. and Chinese military forces in diverse types of conflict, at varying distances from the Chinese mainland, and at different points in time.

    Sep 14, 2015

  • Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy recruits march during a parade in Qingdao, Shandong province, December 5, 2013

    Report

    China's Military Modernization Increasingly Challenges U.S. Defense Capabilities in Asia

    Although China continues to lag behind the United States in terms of aggregate military hardware and operational skills, it has improved its capabilities relative to those of the U.S. in many critical areas. Moreover, China does not need to catch up fully in order to challenge U.S. ability to conduct effective military operations near the Chinese mainland.

    Sep 14, 2015

  • Digital internet security concept

    Announcement

    RAND Hosts Cybersecurity Exercise

    The discussion of cybersecurity should not be trapped within narrow technical, national security, or legal stovepipes and should include an examination of economic, civil, and societal factors. With that goal in mind, RAND hosted an analytic exercise on cybersecurity.

    Sep 3, 2015

  • View of the Earth from space

    Essay

    Interdependence Day: Contending with a New Global Order

    A team of RAND experts took a sober look at the threats facing the United States and developed a playbook of strategies to address them.

    Aug 21, 2015

  • Testimony

    Strategies for Defending U.S. Government Networks in Cyberspace: Addendum

    Document submitted on July 31, 2015 as an addendum to testimony presented before the House Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies on June 24, 2015.

    Aug 3, 2015