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.

Explore Cyber Warfare

  • Marines with Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command pose for photos in the cyber operations center at Lasswell Hall

    Report

    Chinese Disinformation Efforts on Social Media

    The authors identify key Chinese practices and the supporting infrastructure and conditions that successful social media disinformation campaigns require, concluding that China is using Taiwan as a test bed for developing attack vectors.

    Jul 19, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    COVID-19, Disinformation and Hateful Extremism: Literature Review Report

    This report presents the findings of a literature review that explored the links between hateful extremism and false information, and identifies associated online interventions and policy responses.

    Jul 14, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Understanding and Pursuing Information Advantage

    This article tries to unpack the concept of "information advantage" and explore what it might mean and how it should be thought about by the U.S. Army and the joint force more broadly.

    Jul 6, 2021

  • A Russian Mi-8 military helicopter is seen through a window while flying during a rehearsal for the Navy Day parade in Saint Petersburg, Russia, July 21, 2019, photo by Anton Vaganov/Reuters

    Report

    How Would NATO Compete with Russia?

    Western threat perceptions of Russia have risen sharply in recent years, bolstered by its acts of military aggression, political interference, and efforts to expand its global influence. What would be the strengths, weaknesses, and risks for the United States, NATO, and Russia in a large-scale war?

    Jun 22, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Managing for Mission Assurance in the Face of Advanced Cyber Threats

    This report offers a foundation for better managing, at the enterprise level in the Air Force, efforts to ensure resiliency of missions to adversarial cyber operations, including suggestions for the allocation of roles and responsibilities of tasks.

    May 24, 2021

  • A driver walks to his car near an empty gas pump in Falls Church, Virginia, May 12, 2021, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is DarkSide Really Sorry? Is It Even DarkSide?

    The U.S. military relies heavily on commercial energy assets, making the implications of events like the Colonial Pipeline outage more serious than just higher prices at the gas pump. The origins and severity of an attack dictate what the United States might do in response.

    May 19, 2021

  • Blog

    Pandemic Education, Working Mothers, Predicting Cyber Threats: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the urban-rural divide in pandemic education, supporting working moms, what makes a good COVID-19 reopening plan, and more.

    May 14, 2021

  • Connected dotted lines representing a network, image by liuzishan/Getty Images

    Report

    New Model Helps Predict Cyber Threats and Improve Resilience

    Today's evolving cyber threats require a tailored and targeted approach to cybersecurity. Current defenses focus on managing threats after a network has been breached. RAND's Scalable Warning and Resilience Model (SWARM) can help defenders proactively protect their systems through early warning of cyber incidents before they occur.

    May 11, 2021

  • The Sodium Guidestar at the Air Force Research Laboratory's Starfire Optical Range resides on a 6,240 foot hilltop at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, photo by U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Third Offset Fostered Real Intellectual Change Within DoD

    In 2014, U.S. defense leaders began promoting the Third Offset, a strategy centered on the potential of technology to offset Chinese and Russian advances. Its core principles were adopted by the 2018 National Defense Strategy. DoD started to look at security problems in a new light and develop closer ties with Silicon Valley.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Systemic Cyber Risk and Aggregate Impacts

    High-profile attacks illustrate the potential for systemic cyber risk. We estimate the aggregate economic impact of firm-specific attacks finding potential large losses from downstream propagations.

    Feb 18, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Deceive the Enemy with Emerging Technologies

    By using technology to deceive and confuse adversaries, the U.S. Navy can gain a competitive edge.

    Feb 4, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Russia's Cyber Limitations in Personnel Recruitment and Innovation, Their Potential Impact on Future Operations and How NATO and Its Members Can Respond

    This chapter addresses questions arising from the gap that separates Russian cyber personnel and capabilities from its ambitions and what effect this disparity has on future state-backed cyber campaigns.

    Dec 23, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Past, Present, and Future of Russia's Cyber Strategy and Forces

    This article aims to show that there is more continuity than contrast between Russian cyber perspectives and practice.

    Oct 22, 2020

  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in discussion with Ted Harshberger, director of RAND Project AIR FORCE

    Multimedia

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper Visits RAND

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper visited RAND's Santa Monica headquarters on September 16, 2020. Secretary Esper emphasized the importance of deterring China and the role of the U.S. defense industrial base.

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Examples of Facebook pages displayed during a House Intelligence Committee meeting on Russian use of social media to influence U.S. elections in Washington, D.C., November 1, 2017, photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    Commentary

    How You Can Fight Russia's Plans to Troll Americans During Campaign 2020

    The goal of Russian interference is to trigger emotional reactions and drive people to ideological extremes, making it nearly impossible to build a consensus. But Americans are less likely to have their emotions manipulated if they are aware that manipulation is the goal.

    Jul 14, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Applying Indications and Warning Frameworks to Cyber Incidents

    This research proposes a high-level yet practical strategic cyber indications and warning approach that governments, NATO agencies, and the private sector can apply to defend against cyber threats.

    Apr 28, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Measuring Cybersecurity and Cyber Resiliency

    This report presents a framework for the development of metrics -- and a method for scoring them -- that indicates how well a U.S. Air Force mission or system is expected to perform in a cyber-contested environment.

    Mar 26, 2020

  • Blog

    Virtual Societal Warfare, Iran, Opioids: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the risk of virtual societal welfare, Iran's domestic debates, federal policy options for supervised consumption sites, and more.

    Oct 11, 2019

  • Concept of artificial intelligence winning at chess, photo by JohnDWilliams/Getty Images

    Report

    The Emerging Risk of Virtual Societal Warfare

    Living in an information society opens unprecedented opportunities for hostile rivals to cause disruption, delay, inefficiency, and harm. Social manipulation techniques are evolving beyond disinformation and cyberattacks on infrastructure sites. How can democracies protect themselves?

    Oct 9, 2019

  • The entrance to Lakhta-2 business center, which reportedly houses news organizations and internet research companies known for trolling on social media, in St. Petersburg, Russia, February 20, 2018, photo by Anton Vaganov/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Translation Troubles Can Tell Us About Russian Information Warfare

    Russian information warfare has attracted significant international attention since 2014. But little research has focused on its apparent shortcomings. Most notable are the confusing translation mistakes that undermine Moscow's attempts at covert influence efforts.

    Oct 4, 2019