CHAPTER 1 The Cyber Bear We should be concerned with this [Russian disinformation] primarily because what the Russians have been effective at doing is increasing internal turmoil and conflict within our country, and if you study history, that is always the end of every great society. —Shermichael Singleton, political strategist1 INTRODUCTION Whereas misinformation could entail a range of incorrect evidence rang- ing from misunderstandings to typos, disinformation carries the connota- tion of deliberate intent. Understanding the difference between something that is inadvertently false and something that is a lie stands at the center of conceptualizing disinformation. Lies are told for a purpose. Deceit is perpetrated with a motive. Russian disinformation is not the only type of hostile activity in Russia’s tool box for the digital realm, but it is generally the most salient, and it poses sufficient dangers that it has garnered notable attention and cata- lyzed a range of potential defenses. It confronts the world at large not only with the prospect of debilitating societal chaos but also with the potential that its use will be combined with other elements of so-called hybrid war, that it will be emulated and adapted by other entities if it appears success- ful, and that the countervailing responses to it could irreparably damage the societies that need protection from the artificial injection of guile and rumor. Kremlin advisor Andrey Krutskikh told a Russian audience at an infor- mation security event in January 2016: You think we are living in 2016? No, we are living in 1948. And do you know why? Because in 1949, the Soviet Union had its first atomic bomb test. And if until that moment, the Soviet Union was trying to reach agreement with [President Harry]
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