Khatuna Mshvidobadze

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Russian Cyber Threats: The Real Story Behind the Hype

“Russian Cyber Threats” thoroughly reviews the subject in its proper context.Russia considers cyber means as just one capability in its information warfarearsenal. And contemporary Russian information warfare draws upon a long andwell-established doctrine, now comfortably fitting into an environment of systemiccorruption. The presentation begins with observations about today’s Russia, andthen looks back to discussions of the Military-Technical Revolution during the1970s and 1980s, doctrinal consistency during the Yeltsin years and the shock ofthe Chechen wars. “We surrendered this terrain [the Internet] some time ago, butnow we are entering the game again,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin. Inparallel, beginning with the Soviet KGB, Russian structures have grown morecomplex, including today’s FSB, GRU and SVR, and a network of allied criminalgroups. The presentation highlights the role of the siloviki (people of power) in thecountry’s information warfare efforts. As Putin said, Russia rejoined “the game”energetically. The presentation examines the 2007 cyber attacks on Estonia and the2008 attacks on Georgia in the first ever combined kinetic and cyber war. It looksat how Russia uses cyber means against its internal opposition and how it usesUkraine as a cyber warfare test-bed. The presentation suggests that several factorsdrive the current trends in Russian cyber capabilities. Finally, it surveys currenttrends: growing sophistication of tactics, techniques, procedures and tools, supplychain threats, false flag operations, third party entry vectors, troll factories, cyberespionage, interference in western politics, outsourcing and inter-agency rivalries.“Russian Cyber Threats” is updated with breaking developments and new researchand has been presented worldwide since 2010.

Khatuna Mshvidobadze

khantunaDr. Khatuna Mshvidobadze is an Adjunct Professor of Cybersecurity at Utica College. She is also a Principal at Cyberlight Global Associates, LLC, and a Senior Fellow atthe Georgian Foundation for Strategic (GFSIS) and International Studies. Her Presentations on “Russian Cyber Threats” have been made at FBI Headquarters andfield offices, US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Justice, US Department of Defense/Office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as at various American private companies, think tanks, institutions and associations. Dr. Mshvidobadze has been Deputy Director of the Information Center on NATO and Adviser to the office of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia. An expert on cybersecurity and geopolitics, her articles have appeared in Georgian and in English, including in Defense News, Jane's Defence Weekly, US News & World Report, Jane's Foreign Report, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and more. She is also theauthor of numerous “Expert Opinion” papers, reports and training courses on cyberissues. In 2015, she published a monograph, "Georgia Cyber Barometer Report", under the auspices of the UK National Crime Agency.

She holds a B.A. in English and Western Literature from Tbilisi State University, an M.B.A. from the Caucasus School of Business, an M.S. in Cyber Forensics andIntelligence from Utica College and a Ph.D. from Georgian Technical University. Inthe autumn of 2011, she was a Rumsfeld Fellow at the Johns Hopkins UniversitySchool for Advanced International Studies.

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