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- February 28, 2020
Can the U.S. and other democracies develop an effective defense?
Featured Report

Cyberwarfare has become a crucial battleground between nations. This largely hidden conflict, which has echoes of the Cold War struggle between Western democracies and communist nations, involves a range of activities: from online disinformation campaigns to the use of sophisticated computer worms to disrupt or commandeer government and commercial computer systems. Russia, the United States, China, Iran and other nations all have probed and hacked into other countries' computer systems. Some U.S. officials worry about a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” in which an enemy launches a surprise cyberattack to disable key public utilities such as the power grid. But other analysts believe the greater danger lies in the way Russia manipulated social media to spread disinformation and worsen political divisions in the 2016 U.S. election as it worked to boost the campaign of President Trump. U.S. intelligence officials say that Russia is at it again, and experts warn that new technologies such as 5G high-speed wireless and artificial intelligence make defending against cyberattacks even harder.

2020 Election

Election Security

Developing a Cyber Strategy

1969–1974Researchers funded by the U.S. Defense Department create the precursor to the internet.
1983–2002As the internet grows, the first attacks on online computer systems begin.
2003–2015Cyberattacks become more sophisticated.
2016–PresentConcern grows about Russian hacking and disinformation campaigns in U.S. elections.

Should the United States respond to Russian interference in U.S. elections with cyberattacks of its own?


James Andrew Lewis
Senior Vice President and Director, Technology Policy Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies..


Benjamin Jensen
Professor of Strategic Studies, Marine Corps University, and Scholar-in-Residence, School of International Service, American University..


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