Emerging Cyberthreats and Russian Views on Information Warfare and Information Operations


  • Roland Heickerö

Publish date: 2010-03-30

Report number: FOI-R--2970--SE

Pages: 68

Written in: English


  • Russia
  • information warfare (IW)
  • information operations (IO)
  • cyber warfare
  • cyber attacks
  • hacktivism
  • cyber criminality
  • cyber regulations
  • Estonia cyber war
  • Georgia cyber attacks
  • SORM
  • Russian intelligence service
  • Russian secret service
  • Russian Business Network (RBN)


The objective of this report is to analyse Russian views on information warfare (IW) and information operations (IO). The goal is to get an overall picture of developments, and Russia´s ambition and behaviour on the information arena. The report describes, analyses and discusses information operation doctrines and strategies. The organizations responsible for information warfare are examined. Examples are given of the driving forces behind and the resources required in developing IW capabilities. A short camparison is made between the Russian approach to information operations and the American and Chinese views in order to get a picture of the differences and similarities between the ways in which they interpret and use the IO concept. The text illustrates possible and likely malicious acitivities on the cyber arena that originate from Russia, such a cyber criminality and "hacktivism". A short description is given of the Estonian cyber conflict in 2007, as well as the denial of service attacks and the website defacements directed against Georgia in 2008, in order to describe the development of a new modus operandi to conduct cyber operations on the Internet, used by different actors, and the potential implications of such a development. Other areas discussed in the report include the need for common criteria and agreements on how to behave in cyberspace in order to limit consequences of cyber attacks.