Can Russia successfully launch a cyber war against the Baltic States?

Traditionally, the military has been about the protection of land, air and water. However, today, it has become important to protect cyberspace. This came about following the cyber attacks on the US government agencies and multinational corporations among others. Although the attackers are often not traceable and have been suspected to come from either China or Russia, the major suspect has always been Russia, due to its advanced technology.

For Russia, the integration of technology into the operations of the military has been part of its strategy over the years. NATO however, began not so long ago, making Russia more powerful in this area. This means that if there was to be war, then the successful integration of cyber skills into other conventional military combat would ensure a win. Because of the dynamic nature of cyberspace, this would not just be about preventing cyber attacks, but also about preventing the proliferation of fake news and tackling internet propaganda that would escalate hatred and make a country and its leadership divided.

Although this hybrid strategy has worked to some extent as it pertains to the Ukraine war and the recent cyber attacks on the US, it is not yet known whether the same would apply to countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, and other neighbours surrounding the Baltic Sea. Estonia, for instance is quite advanced in matters pertaining to cyber security, even providing a hand to Japan in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Estonia is also at the forefront in the call for a global cyber alliance among democratic states.

Based on these, it is unlikely that a Russian cyber war would hold. This could be the reason behind Russia’s aggression, although surrounding countries continue to employ strategies for combating possible war, including cold war. What Russia may be up to is just showing off a non-existant military hybrid.