The Russian regime's struggle for internal control drives multifaceted actions in cyberspace that do not stop at national borders. Cybercrime, technical hacking, and disinformation are complementary tools to preserve national power internally while projecting effects onto myriad neighbors and rivals.
Russian activity in the cyber domain is infamous in the United States and other Western countries. Weaponizing Cyberspace explores the Russian proclivity, particularly in the 21st century, for using cyberspace as an environment in which to launch technical attacks and disinformation campaigns that sow chaos and distraction in ways that provide short-term advantage to autocrats in the Kremlin.
Arguing that Russia’s goal is to divide people, Sambaluk explains that Russia’s modus operandi in disinformation campaigning is specifically to find and exploit existing sore spots in other countries. In the U.S., this often means inflaming political tensions among people on the far left and far right. Russia’s actions have taken different forms, including the sophisticated surveillance and sabotage of critical infrastructure, the ransoming of data by criminal groups, and a welter of often mutually contradictory disinformation messages that pollute online discourse within and beyond Russia. Whether deployed to contribute to hybrid war or to psychological fracture and disillusionment in targeted societies, the threat is real and must be understood and effectively addressed.
- Explains how the legacy of Soviet information operations and the modern examples of Russian information operations are similar but not identical to one another
- Explores the development of Russian domestic information operations techniques that can now be applied against foreign powers
- Describes the relationships between technical attacks and disinformation often used in confrontations with countries along Russia's borders
- Examines the role of Russian information operations in U.S. social and political discourse
- Considers the implications of other countries' reactions that attempt to eliminate the Russian information operation's ability to influence society
Nicholas Michael Sambaluk, PhD, is associate professor at the Air Force Cyber College at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL. Winner of the 2020 Air Force Association's Gill Robb Wilson Award for arts and letters, his first book, The Other Space Race: Eisenhower and the Quest for Aerospace Security, was named the Air Force Historical Research Foundation's 2016 Best Air Power History Book of the Year and entered the National Security Space Council's professional reading list in 2021. Sambaluk is the author or editor of four other books, including Myths and Realities of Cyber Warfare: Conflict in the Digital Realm.
Reviews"Sambaluk weaves here an impressive history and analysis of the Russian government’s cyber activity and its underlying motives. Taking us inside the Kremlin’s well of paranoia and antagonism towards the West and post-Soviet democracies, Weaponizing Cyberspace shows us why, how, and towards what objectives Russian cyberoffensives will continue. Sambaluk also explains, convincingly, why these activities are likely to escalate."—Tom Rogan, National Security Columnist, The Washington Examiner
"Penetrating analysis from a proven military science and technology expert, Weaponizing Cyberspace provides first-ever insights into the minds and rationale behind Russia’s offensive cyberspace operations."—Colonel (ret.) Gregory Conti, Principal and Co-Founder, Kopidion
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