Kostyuk Publishes Articles on Why Russian Cyberattacks Haven't Played a Major Role in Invasion Yet

Dr. Nadiya Kostyuk

Posted June 23, 2022

Nadiya Kostyuk, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy and the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy, published two articles with Erik Gartzke, professor of political science at the University of California San Diego.

The first one, published in The Conversation in April, is titled “Cyberattacks Have yet to Play a Significant Role in Russia’s Battlefield Operations in Ukraine – Cyberwarfare Experts Explain the Likely Reasons.” The second piece, published in Texas National Security Review's Summer 2022 issue, is titled "Why Cyber Dogs Have Yet to Bark Loudly in Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine."

In both articles, Kostyuk and Gartzke note that Russia has not used significant cyberattacks in its invasion of Ukraine thus far, proving pundits and analysts who believed it would be an integral part of their military strategy wrong. In their April article, the authors theorize that Russia has yet to make cyberattacks a core part of the invasion because the cyber and military strikes accomplish different objectives. While cyberattacks help achieve informational goals, military ones are designed to overtake people and territory.

“The various goals offered by Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine, such as preventing Ukraine from joining NATO, replacing the government or countering fictitious Ukrainian weapons of mass destruction, require occupying territory,” the authors write.

In their most recent piece, Kostyuk and Gartzke explain this lack of cyberattacks through their theory of "indirect substitution," wherein countries with greater access to the Internet are more likely to be involved in cyberattacks, both as aggressors and as targets.

"Though our research indicates that, for the time being, cyber warfare is more likely to be deployed independently from, rather than as a substitute for or complement to conventional warfare, it also indicates that a country’s increased internet access is likely to lead to more cyber conflicts and less conventional conflict behavior," they write.

Read the full articles in The Conversation and Texas National Security Review.

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