Flanked by oceans on either side America has enjoyed the luxury of massive natural defenses in the three traditional arenas. The internet has eliminated these barriers. In today’s world the arenas of warfare are land, air, sea and cyber. In the cyber arena America is just as vulnerable as Ukraine which has been on the front lines of Russia’s cyber as well as physical aggression for years.
Ukraine is Putin’s laboratory for cyber warfare tactics. What works in Ukraine the Russians apply in other countries including the United States. There is much we can learn from Ukraine about countering and preventing Putin’s cyber attacks on America. An independent Ukraine with a vibrant economy is a valuable economic as well as political ally for the United States.
In Ukraine the Russians have demonstrated the ability to disrupt four key areas of modern society — critical infrastructure, political infrastructure, social infrastructure and intelligence gathering
Critical Infrastructure – This means the Russians have the ability to take banks, power grids and transportation grids offline in a target country. Ukraine, Georgia and Estonia have all suffered these kinds of attacks and repelled these kinds of attacks. There are signs the Russians have tapped the ability to attack America in this way.
Political Infrastructure – This includes attacks on voting software including voter rolls and electronic voting machines. In 2014 there was Russia attempted to bring down the Ukraine voting system. It has now been revealed that voter rolls in 21 states in America were attacked with several infiltrated. There is also evidence of attacks on voting devices. These were reported as unsuccessful. Unsuccessful attacks still provide information. The Russians are certainly applying what they learned for future efforts.
This also means the application of disinformation tactics such as fake news. The people living in the countries along the Russian border have been dealing with the fake news tactics for years. They understand how fake information is created and disseminated. Check out Stop Fake site which debunks fake news targeted at Ukraine.
Social Infrastructure – This is the effort to breed distrust of government by citizens and distrust of one’s fellow citizens. No question we have seen these tactics applied to America
Intelligence Gathering – This of course includes the volumes of information we post about ourselves on social media – political preferences, cats or dogs, religion, pictures, favorite foods, which sportsball team.
It also includes viruses written for specific people – heads of banks and companies. Malware that sits quietly on their computer system delivering oodles of information directly to Russia.
Why does The Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act matter to you? Frankly, America is playing catch up on implementing a coordinated response to the coordinated attack on our country in this 21st century arena. Ukraine can help us.
Read the full bill: H.R. 1997 Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act
Status as of 2/8/2018 – the bill has passed The House and is up for vote in The Senate. Now is the time to contact your senator to encourage them to vote in favor of collaborating with Ukraine in matters of countering Putin’s cyber attacks
If you really want to geek out on this topic watch:
George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security’s Forum – The US and Ukraine Cybersecurity Partnership (Scroll to bottom of page for video)