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The Role Of Intelligence Agencies In Public Attribution Of Offensive Cyber Operations
Cyber operations have been traditionally considered covert actions, with incentives for both attacker and victim to remain silent and conceal the attack. Attribution is often a technically complex process that requires extensive work on the part of intelligence agencies. Although their work usually takes place ‘behind the scenes’, recent cases show intelligence agencies are playing an increasingly visible role in the public attribution processes.

With cyberattacks and intrusions becoming an integral component of both warfare and diplomacy, attribution – and its mechanisms and consequences – also play a growing role. Governments are increasingly required to balance expectations, credibility and transparency of high-stake attribution processes with the need to minimize exposure of their intelligence agencies and technological capabilities.
Combining original data on intelligence agencies’ involvement in public attribution cases and an in-depth analysis of the SolarWinds hack as a case-study, this research offers a broader understanding of the emerging changes in the role of intelligence agencies in the cyber domain, including its more public components. The implications of this research will serve scholars, practitioners and decision-makers in the fields of cyber warfare, intelligence, international relations, and beyond.

Jan 25, 2022 01:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Gil Baram
Post-doctoral Fellow @Stanford University
Dr. Gil Baram is a cybersecurity post-doctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). She received her Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University’s School of Political Science, Government and International Relations, and was the recipient of the Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship. Her postdoctoral research at CISAC focuses on national decision-making during cyber conflict. Previously, Dr. Baram has held fellow positions with the Centre of Excellence for National Security at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and served as Head of Research at the Israeli think tank Yuval Ne'eman workshop for Science, Technology and Security.