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.

  • Accountability in Cyberspace: The Problem of Attribution

    Multimedia

    How to Achieve Accountability in Cyberspace

    Jan 13, 2019

    Identifying the responsible party behind malicious cyber incidents is necessary for holding bad actors accountable. But there are many challenges that accompany cyber attribution. Creating an independent, global organization that investigates and publicly assigns blame for major hacks could help.

  • Cyber grenade

    Commentary

    Getting Ready to Fight the Next (Cyber) War

    Mar 3, 2018

    Nation-states and their proxies are regularly spying and attacking in cyberspace across national borders. Western societies that are being targeted should do three things: Be less vulnerable, be able to recognize and mitigate the impact of attacks faster, and be prepared to respond in kind to all levels of offense.

Explore Cyber Warfare

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: Vol. 37, No. 1, Summer 2013

    Stories discuss the harms caused by sexual assault in the military; the prospects for minimalist international interventions; cyber threats and nations' responses to them; and the rising costs of dementia in the United States.

    Jul 15, 2013

  • server, datacenter, computer, network, room, interior, data, center, networking, rack, hosting, internet, web, framework, farm, workstation, render, pc, tower, cluster, database, business, security, technology, mainframe, equipment, white, processor, ethernet, storage, servers, industry, connection, row, firewall, hardware, service, infrastructure, system, information, domain, host, object, terminal, telecommunication, communication, black, net, connectivity, 3d

    Report

    Stocktaking Military Cyber Defense Capabilities in the European Union

    As the stakes of cyber threats rise, the EU needs to be able to provide a consistent level of cyber defense capability across member states. This stocktaking exercise aimed to inform further action at the EU and national level.

    Jun 3, 2013

  • 24th MEU,Realistic Urban Training,RUT,Sgt. Richard Blumenstein

    Report

    Brandishing Cyberattack Capabilities

    No one knows quite what would happen if a country suffered a full-fledged cyberattack, despite the plethora of skirmishes. But while cyberattack capabilities cannot easily be used to shape the behavior of others, this does not mean they cannot be used at all.

    May 13, 2013

  • Testimony

    Managing September 12th in Cyberspace

    "The U.S., while worried about a '9/11 in cyberspace,' also ought to worry about what a '9/12 in cyberspace' would look like," warns Martin C. Libicki in testimony presented before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats on March 21, 2013. The consequences of the reaction to a cyberattack could be more serious than the consequences of the original action itself.

    Mar 21, 2013

  • Red network cables

    Testimony

    Managing September 12th in Cyberspace

    The U.S., while worried about a "9/11 in cyberspace," also ought to worry about what a "9/12 in cyberspace" would look like. The consequences of the reaction to a cyberattack could be more serious than the consequences of the original action itself.

    Mar 20, 2013

  • Globe and computer keyboard

    Commentary

    What Is an Act of Cyberwar? It's a Decision, Not a Conclusion

    Perhaps making war can persuade the attacker to stop. Yet, war also risks further disruption, great cost, as well as possible destruction and death—especially if matters escalate beyond cyberspace, writes Martin Libicki.

    Mar 4, 2013

  • digital globe with data orbits

    Commentary

    The European Cyber Security Strategy: Too Big to Fail?

    The European Cyber Security Strategy is remarkable because it tries to co-ordinate policy across three areas whose competences and mandates were formerly very separate: law enforcement, the 'Digital Agenda', and defence, security, and foreign policy, writes Neil Robinson.

    Feb 8, 2013

  • digital globe

    Report

    Analysis of Cyber Threats Informs Swedish Strategy

    How do governments characterize cyber threats and what role does law enforcement play in tackling cyber crime in different countries? These are some of the questions RAND Europe investigated on behalf of the Swedish National Defence College to inform the development of the Swedish Cyber Security Strategy.

    Feb 5, 2013

  • Announcement

    Two Former Government Officials Join RAND Corporation Staff

    Andrew Liepman and David Senty join RAND.

    Jan 22, 2013

  • Running a test in a U.S. Air Force cyber lab

    Blog

    A Cybercrisis Is Inevitable — and Manageable

    The United States can manage a cybercrisis by taking steps to reduce the incentives for other states to step into crisis, by controlling the narrative, understanding the stability parameters of the crises, and trying to manage escalation if conflicts arise.

    Jan 9, 2013

  • Binary code and laptops

    Commentary

    A Matter of Degree: Who Can Authorize a Cyberattack?

    Understanding when the United States should engage in cyberwar and who should approve cyberattacks requires understanding that cyberwar has multiple personalities: operational, strategic, and that great gray area in-between, writes Martin Libicki.

    Jan 8, 2013

  • Report

    Cybercrises Can Be Managed with Multiple Strategies

    The chances are growing that the United States will find itself in a crisis in cyberspace. Such crises can be managed by taking steps to reduce the incentives for other states to step into crisis, by controlling the narrative, understanding the stability parameters of the crises, and trying to manage escalation if conflicts arise from crises.

    Jan 3, 2013

  • Report

    Rapid Acquisition and Fielding for Information Assurance and Cyber Security in the Navy

    The U.S. Navy requires an agile, adaptable acquisition process that can field new IT capabilities and services quickly. Successful rapid acquisition programs in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps offer lessons for the Navy as it develops its own streamlined processes for computer network defense and similar program areas.

    Dec 21, 2012

  • digital globe

    Commentary

    Cyber Operations Can Supplement a War, but They Cannot Be the War

    The U.S. military, with its high-tech systems, must protect itself from cyber threats with much the same careful management that protects it against vulnerabilities associated with, say, explosives. But there can be no choice between boots on the ground and fingers on a keyboard, writes Martin Libicki.

    Dec 19, 2012

  • Multimedia

    Threats: Cyber Warfare

    In this conference call, RAND senior management scientist Martin Libicki discusses cyber threats—including the declaration of cyber war by "hacktivist" group Anonymous against Israel—with RAND media relations director Jeffrey Hiday.

    Dec 6, 2012

  • Admiral Dennis Blair at RAND's Politics Aside event

    Blog

    Admiral Blair: Middle East Most Serious Threat to U.S.

    Admiral Dennis Blair, former National Intelligence director, discusses how the government gathers and uses intelligence on issues including Iran, cyber warfare, and the Arab Spring. Blair spoke with Reuters Editor-at-Large Sir Harold Evans during the RAND's Politics Aside event.

    Nov 21, 2012

  • Multimedia

    Crisis and Escalation in Cyberspace

    In a presentation at the Google LAX Office, Martin Libicki, Adjunct Management Scientist, RAND Corporation, discusses the evolving field of cyberwarfare, and the form of crisis and escalation in the context of cyberspace.

    Nov 15, 2012

  • U.S. Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit agent

    Journal Article

    An Enemy Without Boundaries

    As Stuxnet and its like have proved, a determined attacker does not require an Internet connection to implant a worm or a virus, and a network's weaknesses can be exposed quite by accident. Cyber defense is difficult, in large part because a cyber attack is not always obvious.

    Oct 1, 2012

  • A hacker at his computer desk

    Commentary

    Setting International Norms on Cyberwar Might Beat a Treaty

    Restricting cyberweapon development could be harmful inasmuch as its core activity is the discovery of vulnerabilities in software—the very activity also required to bulletproof software against attacks from criminal hackers, writes Martin Libicki.

    Jun 11, 2012

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

    Information Sharing for Cyber-Security: Evidence from Europe

    In this May 2012 Congressional Briefing, Neil Robinson presented evidence from empirical studies conducted in Europe regarding cyber-security and information exchange, specifically between organizations such as information sharing and analysis centers, computer emergency response teams, and cyber-crime police.

    May 7, 2012