Cyber Warfare

Featured

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, photo by nadla/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Why It's So Hard to Stop a Cyberattack — and Even Harder to Fight Back

    Mar 30, 2017

    Cyber weapons attack the underlying network or computer systems. The possibility of unexpected effects in the cyber world is therefore greater than in conventional warfare. Not knowing if the effects were intentional complicates the response.

  • Composite image of binary code on a sunset over water by Eileen Delson La Russo/RAND, adapted from images by Agil_Leonardo, Matejmo, and Byakkaya/Getty Images

    Report

    The Life and Times of Zero-Day Software Vulnerabilities

    Mar 9, 2017

    Zero-day software vulnerabilities—security holes that developers haven't fixed or aren't aware of—can lurk undetected for years. They are useful in cyber operations and in defensive and academic settings. Whether to disclose or stockpile them is an ongoing debate.

Explore Cyber Warfare

  • 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

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

    Strategic Rethink: Choices for America in a Turbulent World

    In this July 2015 Congressional Briefing, Ambassador James Dobbins discusses the report he coauthored with Howard Shatz and David Ochmanek, Choices for America in a Turbulent World. This is the first paper in the "Strategic Rethink" project, in which RAND researchers examine the most consequential choices that are likely to face this president and the next.

    Jul 24, 2015

  • Glowing globe

    Project

    The RAND Strategic Rethink Project

    The RAND Strategic Rethink project explores important strategic questions facing the United States, producing a guide for policymakers, citizens, educators, and the media on the most critical global choices and challenges facing the country.

    Jul 23, 2015

  • News Release

    With Upcoming 2016 Election, Global Power Shifts Will Face the Next U.S. President

    Chaos in the Middle East, Russian intervention, Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, climate change, and a decline in U.S. military readiness have raised questions about how America envisions its role in a turbulent geopolitical environment. Nevertheless, the world is not falling apart and these difficulties are not beyond the United States' ability to manage.

    Jul 23, 2015

  • World map, connected people icons, and binary code

    Commentary

    War on the Web

    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.

    Jul 23, 2015

  • World puzzle

    Report

    Choices for America in a Turbulent World

    Today, the United States faces no existential threat. Rather, it confronts an unusually wide and diverse array of challenges. What strategic choices does it have in dealing with these challenges—and tomorrow's?

    Jul 23, 2015

  • Anti-government protesters at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev on January 25, 2014

    Commentary

    Reports of Global Disorder Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

    Deterring Russia, channeling growing Chinese power, and working with others to dismantle the Islamic State are daunting challenges—but not greater than rebuilding post-World War II Europe, containing the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War, and promoting democratic governance throughout much of the modern world.

    Jul 22, 2015

  • Identify theft illustration

    Commentary

    U.S. Needs a New Electronic Identity-Protection Strategy to Prevent 'Hybrid Warfare' Attacks

    The U.S. government needs to develop a strategy to protect its citizens that includes a unique identifying number or code and a method for protecting these identity keys in online transactions.

    Jul 6, 2015

  • Network hub and cable

    Testimony

    Strategies for Defending U.S. Government Networks in Cyberspace

    Hackers, including state and non-state actors, are continuing to find opportunities to penetrate U.S. government networks. Defending these networks will require a systems approach.

    Jun 24, 2015

  • Report

    Ensuring U.S. Air Force Operations During Cyber Attacks Against Combat Support Systems: Guidance for Where to Focus Mitigation Efforts

    RAND researchers developed a process for prioritizing functions and information systems in assessing mission assurance under cyber attack, a challenge due to the number of systems, range of vulnerabilities, and variety of combat support functions.

    May 29, 2015

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Is Bipartisan National Security Policy Possible in Today's Political Environment?

    Should the United States make a nuclear deal with Iran? What threat do cyber attacks pose to our nation? Should there be intelligence reform? In this Events @ RAND podcast, Mike Rogers speaks to these and other timely national security issues.

    Apr 21, 2015

  • Eye and technology display

    Report

    Training Cyber Warriors: Lessons from Defense Language Training

    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.

    Mar 16, 2015

  • A man accesses data from a computer

    Testimony

    Sharing Information About Threats Is Not a Cybersecurity Panacea

    Information-sharing—specifically, threat-centric information-sharing—has dominated recent discussions on improving cybersecurity, but it is not a silver bullet. Its usefulness is tied to certain assumptions about attacks, and while it should be encouraged, it addresses only one facet of a very complex space.

    Mar 4, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Integrating Apples, Oranges, Pianos, Volkswagens, and Skyscrapers: On the Relationships Between Information-Related Capabilities and Other Lines of Operation

    This article describes the various possible relationships between IRCs and the capabilities of other lines of operation.

    Feb 17, 2015

  • Binary code with 'password' in red

    Commentary

    Cyberattacks Are a Nuisance, Not Terrorism

    The United States needs to consider both the risk of further attacks like the Sony breach and also further ill-considered reactions that may arise if the problem of insecurity in cyberspace is shoved into the counterterrorism paradigm.

    Feb 9, 2015

  • People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo

    Commentary

    Decoding the Breach: The Truth About the CENTCOM Hack

    When ISIS hackers hijacked the Twitter account of U.S. Central Command on Jan. 12, they falsely claimed that they had hacked into U.S. military computers. While the incident was embarrassing, it was not concerning in operational military terms. It was, however, damaging to the counterinsurgency against ISIS.

    Feb 3, 2015

  • Service members working in the Global Strategic Warning and Space Surveillance System Center

    Commentary

    Put a Cybercop on the Beat

    What remains vitally needed is legislation that would grant at least one capable government organization the authority to track cyber-intruders and -criminals with the same freedom and speed of maneuver that these adversaries enjoy, while protecting the civil liberties and freedoms that allowed the establishment of the Internet.

    Jan 22, 2015

  • People pose in front of a display showing the word 'cyber' in binary code, Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, December 27, 2014

    Commentary

    After a Year of Major Hacks, 2015 Resolutions to Bolster Cyber Security

    With numerous data breaches and emerging software vulnerabilities, 2014 was the year the hack went viral. But realizing a few New Year's resolutions in 2015 could help defenders make strides in protection, tools, and techniques to gain the edge over cyber attackers in years to come.

    Dec 31, 2014