Cyber Warfare


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.

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    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.

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    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

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    Caolionn O'Connell

    Senior Physical Scientist
    Education Ph.D. in physics, Stanford University; B.A. in physics, Harvard University

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    Lindsey Polley

    Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education Certificate in counter terrorism theory, University of Leiden; M.P.A. in public administration, California State University, San Bernardino; B.A. in Chicana/Chicano studies, University of California at Davis

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    Isaac R. Porche III

    Director, Acquisition and Development Program, Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC); Senior Engineer
    Education Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science, University of Michigan; M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science, University of California, Berkeley; B.S. in electrical engineering, Southern University

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    James Ryseff

    Technical Analyst
    Education M.S. in security studies, Georgetown University; B.S. in computer science, University of Illinois

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    Lara Schmidt

    Director, Strategy, Policy, and Operations Program, Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC); Senior Statistician
    Education Ph.D. in statistics, American University; M.S. in mathematics, West Virginia University; B.S. in mathematics, Shepherd College

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    Erik Silfversten

    Senior Analyst
    Education M.Sci. in international relations and global issues, University of Nottingham

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    Hilary A. Smith

    Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education M.S. in conflict analysis and resolution, George Mason University; B.A. in Middle East studies and Arabic, Brigham Young University

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    Sarah Soliman

    Technical Analyst
    Education M.Phil. in technology policy, University of Cambridge; B.S. in computer engineering, West Virginia University; B.S. in biometric systems, West Virginia University

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    Danielle C. Tarraf

    Senior Information Scientist
    Education Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (control theory), MIT; S.M. in mechanical engineering, MIT; B.E. in mechanical engineering, American University of Beirut

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    Bonnie L. Triezenberg

    Senior Engineer
    Education Ph.D. in policy analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School; M.S. in systems science, University of California-Los Angeles; B.S. in aerospace engineering, University of Michigan

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    Zev Winkelman

    Director, Center for Corporate Ethics and Governance; Information Scientist; Core Faculty Member, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education Ph.D. in public policy, University of California, Berkeley; M.S. in forensic computing, City University of New York; B.S.E. in computer engineering, University of Michigan; B.G.S. in general studies, University of Michigan

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    RAND Review: Summer 2013

    This RAND Review focuses on the harms and costs of sexual assault in the military and the barriers that still exist for servicemembers who report the crimes and seek psychological health care. Other stories address the prospects for minimalist international interventions, cyber threats and nations' responses to them, and the rising costs of dementia in the U.S.

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    Message from the Editor: Scourges

    The RAND Review Editor-in-Chief summarizes the Summer 2013 issue.

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    Old Madness, New Methods

    C lassic motivations for terrorism will endure in the information age. What will change will be the methods used by terrorists who avail themselves of newly expanded opportunities to disrupt and destroy their enemies, as revealed in "Networks, Netwar, and Information-Age Terrorism," one chapter in a forthcoming ...

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    That Wild, Wild Cyberspace Frontier

    Cyberspace, like the old West, is a lawless domain of limitless possibilities--for good but also for evil. As in a frontier town, everyone with links to the Internet is going to have to see to their own protection, at least until law and order catch up. A Russian hacker in St. Petersburg breaks into a Citibank ...

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    Information Warfare: A Two-Edged Sword

    Information war has no front line. Potential battlefields are anywhere networked systems allow access--oil and gas pipelines, for example, electric power grids, telephone switching networks. In sum, the U.S. homeland may no longer provide a sanctuary from outside attack. The sword of information-age technology ...

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    David C. Gompert How grave is the threat from cyberspace? Are those electrons really "10 feet tall" or is information war being oversold? We don't know. In particular, we don't know what groups, with what technical skills, might be able to manipulate or disrupt the flow of information on which our society ...

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    Cyberwar and Netwar: New Modes, Old Concepts, of Conflict

    John J. Arquilla and David F. Ronfeldt The information revolution is transforming warfare, contend the authors. No longer will massive, dug-in armies fight bloody attritional battles. Instead small, highly mobile forces, armed with real-time information from satellites and battlefield sensors, will strike ...