Cyber and information attacks against commercial enterprises in the U.S. and allied countries are an enticing means of waging economic warfare by countries like Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, a new report from the Chertoff Group and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies details.
Russia expert and former Army War College professor Stephen Blank cited the new report in an op-ed for The Hill that discusses how information warfare threatens Western corporations.
According to Blank, “Cyber and informational attacks can take the form of disinformation campaigns orchestrated…to besmirch the good name of a corporation, undermine its reputation and thus make it difficult if not impossible for it to secure contracts or funding. If the attack is sufficiently successful, the company either loses its market share or has to go out of business. In that case, the field is open for a pro-Moscow or actual Russian entity to replace it.”
For smaller firms, especially, the effects can be devastating.
“Economically such attacks on large or smaller corporations aim to cripple them unless they accede to the wishes of states like Russia or North Korea as in Pyongyang’s hacking of Sony in 2014.
This is a commonplace enough practice by Russia that there’s a word for it: Reiderstvo. Think of it as disinformation-meets-corporate raiding. “It is a hallmark of the Putin system,” writes Blank.
At CAFI we’ve provided many examples of how electric companies, energy producers, telecom firms, even agriculture producers have been subject to disinformation and sabotage to harm commercial prospects. Add to this list international cargo companies.
Blank cites an example of how some Western-owned cargo shippers have come into the crosshairs of Kremlin disinformation slingers, who seek to paint the companies as weapons traffickers and undermine their ability to carry out humanitarian operations for the U.N. and other clients.