Subscribe to FDD

Cyber-enabled Economic Warfare

Cyber-enabled Economic Warfare

A CSIF project aiming to provide a foundation for the U.S. government and policy community to better understand cyber-enabled economic warfare.

The Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies is launching a critical new project studying cyber-enabled economic warfare and providing policymakers with a deeper understanding of how states are using attacks via cyber technology in order to damage adversaries’ economies and degrade their national security capacity.

With new cyberattacks reported daily, the need for improved cyber security has permeated policy and popular debates. And yet, there is still a gap in U.S. strategic thinking: Information technology developments are being adapted to cause economic damage. The fundamental drivers of this threat landscape are clear. Cyber-enabled economic warfare is escalating because opportunities for conducting it, thanks to new technologies, are rapidly expanding and potential gains from its successful pursuit are enormous. Both the U.S. and its adversaries are responding to and shaping the battle space and international norms through their choices. Yet little is being done to analyze emerging dynamics and threats to the U.S. and its allies.

CSIF’s cyber-enabled economic warfare project aims to provide a foundation for the U.S. government and policy community to better understand cyber-enabled economic warfare. The research and analysis will promote a greater understanding within the U.S. government, private sector, and allied countries of the threats and opportunities that the new environment poses and assist policymakers develop and implement a winning strategy for the United States within this domain.

The project is led by Samantha Ravich, member of CSIF’s Board of Advisors and former deputy national security advisor to the Office of the Vice President and co-chair of the National Commission for Review of Research and Development Programs in the U.S. Intelligence Community. Dr. Ravich is the editor of a two volume monograph on the evolving challenge of cyber-enabled economic warfare. FDD Executive Director and expert on economic sanctions Mark Dubowitz and CSIF Chairman and former deputy national security adviser for combatting terrorism Juan Zarate are serving as senior advisors to the project. 

The project is also guided by a senior advisory group of former government officials and senior leaders and practitioners in foreign policy, national security, and the financial, economic, and trade arenas. This group provides recommendations on core research questions and strategic guidance on policy ideas.

Members of the Advisory Group include: (read full bios)

Stewart Baker – John P. Carlin – Steven Chabinsky – Frank Cilluffo – Rajesh De – Karen Evans –
Nick Fishwick CMG – Gen. Michael V. Hayden – Todd Hinnen – Jamil Jaffer – Jeffrey Johnson –
Sean Kanuck – Herbert Lin – David Shedd – Rhea Siers – Kiron Skinner – Matthew Spence –
V.S. Subrahmanian – Mark Weatherford

Lost in cyberspace

10th January 2017 – The Washington Times

Lost in cyberspace

Clifford D. May

Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee was mischievous. Did it change the outcome of the 2016 elections? No evidence suggests that and the intelligence community isn’t claiming that. more...

Analysis & Commentary

24th August 2016 – The Cipher Brief

The New Frontier in Terror Fundraising: Bitcoin

The New Frontier in Terror Fundraising: Bitcoin

Yaya J. Fanusie

When I worked as a counterterrorism analyst for the CIA, I always looked out for signs of terrorist groups adapting their methods. Now, as someone outside of government who analyzes how nefarious groups fund themselves, I am concerned about terrorists using innovative technologies to bolster their finances. And I recently came across a troubling case of terrorist financial innovation. more...

2nd June 2016 – FDD Press

Russian Hybrid Warfare: How to Confront a New Challenge to the West

Pasi Eronen

In 2013, General Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s Armed Forces, publicly unveiled a fresh idea. In what came to be called the Gerasimov Doctrine,1 he described “new-generation” warfare – pre-emptive operations employing a mixture of nonmilitary and military measures to achieve political goals, deploying all elements of society. more...

4th August 2015 – Quoted by FCW

Is Hacking Back a Cyber-Theft Deterrent Option?

Juan Zarate

A new report from the Hudson Institute on economic espionage in cyberspace reflects a shifting conversation in Washington from passive to proactive cyber defense – to the point of suggesting that an “Economic Warfare Command” be set up at the Treasury Department for using offensive coercion against adversaries. more...

3rd August 2015 – Quoted by Grant Gross - CIO

Counterterrorism Expert Says It’s Time To Give Companies Offensive Cybercapabilities

Juan Zarate

The U.S. government should deputize private companies to strike back against cyberattackers as a way to discourage widespread threats against the nation’s businesses, a former government official says. more...

Events: