Recent reporting has revealed that there is a growing frustration expressed by members of the U.S. Senate Armed Committee that the U.S. Department of Defense has still not established any defined cyber deterrence policy or strategy, particularly with regard to “red lines.”
In December 2016, the National Defense Authorization Act sought “a report on the military and nonmilitary options available to the United States for deterring and responding to imminent threats in cyberspace.” Since that period, it appears that little has been done to develop a deterrent strategy, a perplexing turn of events given the fact that the United States has multiple avenues from which to develop a cyber deterrence strategy that includes diplomatic, economic, military, and trade options that can be leveraged to influence foreign state behavior.
Cyber deterrence is frequently discussed at the highest levels of the U.S. government, especially as hostile cyber actions continue to increase in frequency and magnitude, and in those instances where information destruction was the intended result. These include but are not limited to the theft of substantial personal indefinable information (e.g., Equifax), intellectual property (e.g., nation states), potential involvement in presidential elections (e.g., Russia ), theft of military plans (e.g., North Korea), and destruction of data (e.g., wiper malware). Historically, such activities have typically evaded any type of state repercussion, although there has been headway made in trying to punish suspected nation state actors for their suspected involvement in them to include:
There is an increased focus on Fake news, particularly in light of Russia’s alleged involvement in its creation and dissemination in the steps leading up to, during, and after the 2016 presidential election.
Many believe that the motivation behind this ongoing “fake news” campaign is to disrupt or subvert the democratic process. Recently, U.S. Senator Mark Warner said that between 2012-2016, there was more than 700 percent increase in the use of digital political adverting. Additionally, the Senate Committee on Intelligence is concerned about Russian use of social media platforms, inviting Google, Twitter, and Facebook and for a public hearing to further discuss this matter.
You wouldn’t believe this! Fake News is growing to scarry proportions!
Facebook disclosed that it had identified more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads suspected of having been purchased by Russian company with ties to the Kremlin. Approximately 3,000 ads running between June 2015-May 2017 and tied to 470 fake accounts neither targeted nor focused on a specific candidate as much as concentrated on pushing divisive social issues to the forefront. Facebook has since shut down these sites. This disclosure further supports the conclusions found by the U.S. Intelligence Community January 2017, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections.” The assessment determined that the Russian influence campaign was designed to damage Hillary Clinton and boost Trump during the election. The report also determined that Russian Internet “trolls” had posted anti-Clinton messages.
in December 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a new information security doctrine, which updates the older 2000 version. The doctrine, a system of official views on the insurance of the national security of the country in the information sphere, regards the main threats to Russia’s security and national interest from foreign information making its way into the country, and sets priorities for countering them.