"Pointing to several recent high-profile events, media reports suggest that Russia is engaging in activities that some may describe as Information Warfare (IW): the range of military and government operations to protect and exploit the information environment. These alleged events include 'hacks' of servers of U.S. political parties and other groups; releases and possible manipulation of sensitive documents in an attempt to influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election; and the manipulation of publicly available information on Russian activities in Ukraine. The scale and frequency of attacks on U.S. information architecture raise issues for the United States, including whether the Department of Defense adequately conceptualizes and is organized to counter IW. [...] Tactics used to accomplish these goals include damaging information systems and critical infrastructure; subverting political, economic, and social systems; instigating 'massive psychological manipulation of the population to destabilize the society and state'; and coercing targets to make decisions counter to their interests. Recent events suggest that Russia may be employing a mix of propaganda, misinformation, and deliberately misleading or corrupted disinformation in order to do so. And while Russian organizations appear to be using cyberspace as a primary medium through which these goals are achieved, the government also appears to potentially be using the physical realm to conduct more traditional influence operations including denying the deployment of troops in conflict areas and the use of online 'troll armies' to propagate pro-Russian rhetoric."
CRS Insight, IN10563
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html