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Old Tactics, New Tools: A Review of Russia’s Soft Cyber Influence Operations

Nov 14, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Today, during the Oversight Subcommittee hearing, “Bolstering the Government’s Cybersecurity: A Survey of Compliance with the DHS Directive,” Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) will submit a Minority staff report into the record on Russian soft cyber influence operations that aim to amplify false and deceptive messages to influence the public and undermine democracy.

Today, Russia is not simply targeting computers, but also human beings by weaponizing information in an effort to influence public opinion and encourage particular behavioral actions. These influence campaigns combine using cyber technologies to infiltrate computer networks in order to acquire or corrupt data along with efforts that seek to heighten social discord, amplify Russian produced disinformation, and create distrust of democratic institutions, particularly a free and fair media, via multiple communications technologies and social media platforms.

The staff report released today, “Old Tactics, New Tools: A Review of Russia’s Soft Cyber Influence Operations,” details the Soviet-era propaganda tactics and information warfare strategy Russia uses today; how Russian military strategists have foreshadowed the use of information as a weapon for decades; and examines new efforts to identify and confront these evolving and expanding threats.

115th Congress