Cyber warfare may be less dangerous than we think

“Frankly, the United States is under attack.”

This February 2018 warning to the Senate from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats included a message that “there should be no doubt” that Russia, emboldened by its 2016 cyberattacks and informational warfare campaign, will target the U.S. midterm elections this year.

We agree. However, our research suggests that, although states like Russia will continue to engage in cyberattacks against the foundations of democracy (a serious threat indeed), states are less likely to engage in destructive “doomsday” attacks against each other in cyberspace. Using a series of war games and survey experiments, we found that cyber operations may in fact produce a moderating influence on international crises.

Here’s why: Cyberspace offers states a way to manage escalation in the shadows. Thus, cyber operations are more akin to the Cold War-era ... read more at: