Brian Whitmore writes: In the past couple years, Russian hackers have launched attacks on a French television network, a German steelmaker, the Polish stock market, the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. State Department, and The New York Times.
And according to press reports citing Western intelligence officials, the perpetrators weren’t rogue cyber-pranksters. They were working for the Kremlin.
Cybercrime, it appears, has become a tool of Russian statecraft. And not just cybercrime.
Vladimir Putin’s regime has become increasingly adept at deploying a whole range of practices that are more common among crime syndicates than permanent members of the UN Security Council.
In some cases, as with the hacking, this involves the Kremlin subcontracting organized crime groups to do things the Russian state cannot do itself with plausible deniability. And in others, it involves the state itself engaging in kidnapping, extortion, blackmail, bribery, and fraud to advance its agenda. [Continue reading…]