Cyber Warfare Integral Part of Modern Politics, New Analysis Reaffirms

Cyber War in Perspective: Russian Aggression against Ukraine analyses how cyber attacks have been integrated into modern warfare. The book, published by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence,  shows that cyber operations have served myriad information warfare and intelligence gathering purposes in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“In Ukraine, cyber operations have been used hand-in-hand with information warfare and intelligence initiatives,” explained Sven Sakkov, director of the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. “Phone hacks, website defacements, and politically motivated cyber attacks served a wider purpose. It demonstrates that computer-based warfare is very unlikely to happen in isolation, it is rather integrated into how nations assert power, potentially using any and all means possible.”

“The world is moving toward a greater strategic use of cyber capabilities to persuade adversaries to change their behaviour,” explains Jarno Limnéll, Professor of cyber security at Aalto University and one of the authors. “Smaller countries such as Finland and Estonia, with a strong heritage of technical capability and experience, may possess some advantages in the cyber domain that not even great powers could dream of,” adds Professor Limnéll.

“Wired citizens can be affected by cyber attacks just as much as network defenders and national security decision makers. However, the classified nature of cyber operations often leaves most people in the dark about what is really happening on our networks,” emphasizes Kenneth Geers, editor of the volume. “In this ground breaking book, more than 20 experts in network security and national defence examine the cyber dimension of the ongoing geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and explain how cyber attacks can influence international crises in the Internet era,” says Geers, NATO CCD COE Ambassador, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and Visiting Professor at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv in Ukraine.

Cyber War in Perspective: Russian Aggression against Ukraine features 18 chapters by scholars and practitioners who identify the tactical and strategic implications of cyber operations, discuss their significance for policy and law, and analyse many aspects of information warfare. This case study of the Ukraine crisis between 2013-2015, examines digital propaganda, denial-of-service (DoS) campaigns, website defacements, and information leaks by hacktivists, cutting-edge cyber espionage malware, physical attacks on Internet infrastructure, and even an attempt to spoil the Ukrainian Presidential election.

The Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is a NATO-accredited knowledge hub, think-tank and training facility. The international military organisation focuses on interdisciplinary applied research and development, as well as consultations, trainings and exercises in the field of cyber security. The Centre’s mission is to enhance capability, cooperation and information-sharing between NATO, Allies and partners in cyber defence. Membership of the Centre is open to all Allies. The Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the USA have signed on as sponsoring nations. Austria and Finland have joined the Centre as contributing participants. The Centre is funded and staffed by these member nations.

The full text of Cyber War in Perspective: Russian Aggression against Ukraine can be accessed through: Photos of the event will be available at (photo credit: Estonian Defence Forces, Siim Teder).