The US has confirmed that Cyber Command, the US military’s hacking unit, has conducted offensive cyber operations against Russia.
The Cyber command has performed operations in support of Ukraine’s defenses but is avoiding directly engaging Russia in a shooting war.
“We’ve conducted a series of operations across the full spectrum; offensive, defensive, [and] information operations,” General Paul Nakasone said in an interview with Sky News.
The comments suggest that cyberspace is a domain in which the Biden administration feels comfortable engaging Russia without fear of escalation.
“We don’t see it as such,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday when asked at a news conference whether Cyber Command’s actions contradicted Biden’s pledge not to get directly involved in the war.
“For Russia, understanding the full scope of US cyber combat power is a gap for them which leaves them unsure about opening this front, at least at this time,” a senior US official said to CNN. ”
Cyber warfare is a new domain … It hasn’t been around long enough for any one nation-state to dominate it.”
The Cyber command also reportedly sent personnel to Ukraine in December, in anticipation of the Russian invasion, to help Kyiv bolster its cyber defenses and to gather information about potential Russian hacking threats, officials have said.
Since the war started, the websites of Russian government ministries and media mouthpieces have been knocked offline or altered to broadcast anti-war slogans.