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2022 Annual DNI Cybersecurity Threat Assessment Findings for Russia

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Per the 2022 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, a publication from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) “We assess that Russia will remain a top cyber threat as it refines and employs its espionage, influence, and attack capabilities. We assess that Russia views cyber disruptions as a foreign policy lever to shape other countries’ decisions, as well as a deterrence and military tool.”

Additional findings from the report include the following:

  • Russia is particularly focused on improving its ability to target critical infrastructure, including underwater cables and industrial control systems, in the United States as well as in allied and partner countries, because compromising such infrastructure improves and demonstrates its ability to damage infrastructure during a crisis.
  • Russia is also using cyber operations to attack entities it sees as working to undermine its interests or threaten the stability of the Russian Government. Russia attempts to hack journalists and organizations worldwide that investigate Russian Government activity and in several instances, has leaked their information.

Other reports outside of the DNI echo similar sentiments.  Findings in a recent National Counterintelligence and Security Center report, titled “Foreign Economic Espionage in Cyberspace,” paint an ominous picture of Russia’s current nefarious cyber activities;

“Russia uses cyber operations as an instrument of intelligence collection to inform its decision making and benefit its economic interests. Experts contend that Russia needs to enact structural reforms, including economic diversification into sectors such as technology, to achieve the higher rate of gross domestic-product growth publicly called for by Russian President Putin. In support of that goal, Russian intelligence services have conducted sophisticated and large-scale hacking operations to collect sensitive US business and technology information. In addition, Moscow uses a range of other intelligence collection operations to steal valuable economic data.”

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