Cyber Statecraft Initiative

  • Atlantic Council Announces Trey Herr as Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative

    WASHINGTON, DC – The Atlantic Council today announced Trey Herr as Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative in its Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. Dr. Herr will be central to further strengthening the Initiative’s continued work on cyberspace as a tool of statecraft in an era of expanding great-power competition where geopolitics and cybersecurity increasingly overlap.

    “Trey's extensive policy experience and creative mindset will play a key role in molding the Initiative's programming and impact. The international cyber community continues to face massive challenges - from navigating complex international supply chains to securing and protecting critical infrastructure and democratic institutions,” said Barry Pavel, Senior Vice President, Arnold Kanter Chair, and Director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.


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  • Collective Defense of Human Dignity: The Vision for NATO's Future in Cyberspace

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    An alliance under tension, NATO today faces the challenges of burden sharing, a multipolar world full of old adversaries and emerging challengers. In “Collective Defense of Human Dignity: The Vision for NATO’s Future in Cyberspace,” Christopher Porter, a nonresident senior fellow in the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council analyzes member states struggling with diverging stances on cyber defense policy and planning—especially on the issue of Chinese investment and deployment of high-speed 5G cellular networks. In these challenging times, dialogue on these issues often devolves into...

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  • Dark Web 2.0?

    The dark web, a part of the Internet that promises relative anonymity by requiring specific software for access, is shrinking after years of defunct sites, exit scams, and indictments. A new generation of criminals, dissidents, and privacy enthusiasts, however, will likely revive it using stronger anonymizing protocols while also conducting more criminal activity on the clear web.

    The dark web aims to hide its users’ web browsing, e-mail, and even instant messaging from law enforcement and oppressive regimes by using “The Onion

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  • Crossing the Cyber Rubicon: Views from Both Sides of the River

    On the weekend of May 5, a month after a truce was agreed between Israel and Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip, violence again rose to levels not seen since 2014. Reports indicate that over 600 rockets were fired into Israel by Palestinian militants and were met by Israeli airstrikes on more than 300 targets. Upwards of twenty-three Palestinians and four Israelis were killed.

    But the headlines from the weekend—at least in cybersecurity circles—focused on a single strike by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against an office building in Hamas territory. According to a May 5 tweet from the IDF, after successfully preventing an alleged Hamas cyberattack against

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  • IRGC Change of Command Signals Tehran’s New Offensive Approach

    In a sudden announcement on April 21, Iran’s Supreme Leader appointed General Hossein Salami, the former deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), as the elite force’s new head. 

    Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had extended the tenure of the former IRGC top commander, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, by another three years in 2017 after he had served for a decade. The decision to replace him with Salami was unexpected and premature.

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  • Cybersecurity: Changing the Model

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    The current model of cybersecurity is outdated. Adversaries continue to grow more sophisticated and outpace advancements in defense technologies, processes, and education. As nation states enter into a new period of great power competition, the deficiencies in current cybersecurity practice, evidenced by the growing number of successful cyber-attacks from Russia, China, North Korea, and others, pose a greater threat.
    The need to update the cybersecurity model is clear. An enhanced public-private model – based on coordinated, advanced protection and resilience – is necessary to protect key critical...

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  • 5G Access Key to Competing Globally, Says Former Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff

    A tweet can reveal your location, an Apple Watch monitors your health, a grocery chain loyalty card allows the supermarket to track your purchases. All of this constitutes what Michael Chertoff describes as “digital exhaust”—data that we constantly and unconsciously emit. The challenge this poses is how to protect that data in an increasingly interconnected world.


    Even as governments grapple with this challenge, “we also should consider the next generation of technology that is going to support the Internet—and that is 5G,” said Chertoff, who served as secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009.


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  • An ‘Increase in Clarity’ in US Cyber Strategy

    In the year since the US Cyber Command was elevated to a unified combatant command there has been an “increase in clarity” on the US cyber strategy, specifically on the Department of Defense’s role, and an “alignment in the law,” US Air Force Brig. Gen. Timothy D. Haugh, commander, Cyber National Mission Force at US Cyber Command, said in Washington on April 23.

    “What we are focused on in terms of military activities in cyberspace is…not about what the Department of Defense’s role is, it’s how can we enable our international partners, our domestic partners, and industry to be able to defend those things that are critical to our nation’s success,” said Haugh.


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  • The United States is Adapting to the Cyber Challenge, Says Top DHS Official

    One of the United States’ top cybersecurity officials noted the progress the US government has made in engaging potential domestic and international targets of cyberattacks, but argued that “information sharing is the minimum bar” the federal government should clear. According to Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security, “we have to get beyond information sharing… to operationalizing information security.”

    Krebs, who spoke at the eighth annual International Conference on Cyber Engagement (ICCE) in Washington, DC, on April 23, argued that more action is needed to defend US businesses and critical infrastructures as hostile nation states are ramping up their attacks on US entities.


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  • International Engagement Key to Building Cyber Resilience

    US and international cybersecurity officials called for greater international cooperation to combat Internet crime and malign cyber activity during the 8th annual International Conference on Cyber Engagement (ICCE) in Washington, DC, on April 23.

    David Koh, who serves as commissioner of cybersecurity, chief executive of the Cyber Security Agency, and defense cyber chief in Singapore’s Ministry of Defense, called for likeminded nations to establish “a rules-based cyberspace based on applicable international law and the adoption of voluntary operational norms.” Koh argued that other global common spaces, such as maritime and aviation, are governed by complex international rule systems, and “cyberspace should not be any different from the physical domains.”


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