Tag Archives: Cyberespionage

Active Cyber Measures: Reviving Cold War Debunking and Deterrence Strategy

By Nicolas Aalberg

Department of Justice and National Intelligence Center reports on active cyber measures (ACMs) carried out by U.S. adversaries on social media display a staggering manipulation of American conversations, journalism, and electoral processes. Unlike Cold War active measures conducted through human intelligence (HUMINT) operations, creating or manipulating an online intelligence asset requires exponentially fewer resources and yields results with far greater scale. However, the U.S. responded to Cold War active measures through defensive counterintelligence and misinformation-debunking programs and through offensive, active HUMINT deterrents, and that same strategy can be used to combat ACMs today.

The Intelligence Community (IC) must work defensively using signals intelligence (SIGINT) and open-source intelligence (OSINT) to detect and neutralize enemy social media accounts, and Congress must create a bipartisan committee (the “Committee”) to communicate declassified information to the American public to expose manipulation of online conversations. At the same time, USCYBERCOM and CIA must work in tandem offensively through a new blend of cyber warfare and HUMINT to deter ACM proliferation and respond in kind, and once again set global military and intelligence standards on U.S. terms.

I.   Defensive Posture: Congress Must Create a Bipartisan Committee to Counter Active Cyber Measures

Given that U.S. adversaries are successfully laying siege to the fabric of American political conversations, the U.S. needs to adopt a Cold War-era defensive posture consisting of counterintelligence efforts and increased transparency with the electorate about manipulated conversations. Historically, CIA has collaborated with FBI on counterintelligence efforts to remove compromised and planted HUMINT assets. NSA, CIA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) must similarly identify active personas and botnets through a combination of SIGINT and OSINT and collaborate with the social media industry to remove these accounts.

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Countering the Cyber Enforcement Gap: Strengthening Global Capacity on Cybercrime

While the barrage of cyberattacks around the world continues to increase, the lack of effective global cybercrime enforcement has allowed cybercriminals to operate with near impunity.

Although there have been a number of efforts to increase international cooperation on cybercrime enforcement, many of these efforts have been hindered due to the lack of capacity building among countries to provide criminal justice actors with the ability to implement and enforce these instruments.

Through an in-depth examination of the global developments in cybercrime and the major challenges to international cooperation among countries, Amy Jordan and Allison Peters provide a variety of recommendations aimed at overcoming the barriers in capacity building among nation states in order to close the global cyber enforcement gap.

Challenges and Opportunities in State and Local Cybercrime Enforcement

Through a detailed analysis of the ways state and local government can improve their cybercrime enforcement to account for gaps in the federal system, Maggie Brunner outlines a future strategy where local governments are at the forefront of bringing cyber perpetrators to justice.

Brunner provides a clear, well-lit path for state and local governments to take on the enforcement mantle, treating cybercrime just like any other form of crime so that law enforcement can have the tools necessary at every level to prevent crimes before they take place.

Cybercrime has grown exponentially in the United States over the last few decades, operating in the shadows with significant impunity. As the complexity of crimes in the cyberspace continues to evolve, the United States must consider a whole-of-government approach in order to build a robust cybercrime enforcement framework.