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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.

With new cyber attacks 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 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 CEO 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 (read full bios) including: 

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

Securing American Interests: A New Era of Economic Power

6th February 2017 – FDD Press

Securing American Interests: A New Era of Economic Power

Eric B. Lorber

American economic power has become an increasingly critical national security tool in recent years. For well over a decade, the United States has leveraged the size of its economy, the centrality of the dollar, and America’s ability to set economic and financial global standards and norms to drive its national security goals. more...

Analysis & Commentary

23rd February 2017 – Quoted by Sean D. Carberry - Federal Computer Week

How to define cyber-enabled economic warfare

Samantha F. Ravich , Annie Fixler

The U.S. and its allies lack coherent doctrine and policy to defend against the growing range of cyber threats, and that is because of a failure to even agree on a common language to describe a "cyber attack," the authors contend. more...

23rd February 2017 – FDD Research

Framework and Terminology for Understanding Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare

Framework and Terminology for Understanding Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare

Samantha F. Ravich , Annie Fixler

The world is witnessing a new kind of war, fought not with bullets but with banknotes and bytes. Although the use of economic aggression against an adversary traces nearly as far back as the creation of economic systems – economic success can breed economic competition which in turn can become intertwined with adversarial relations – over time, economic warfare tactics have evolved. more...

10th January 2017 – The Washington Times

Lost in cyberspace

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...

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...

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