The United States is increasingly the target of foreign-based cyber operations. The United States relies on its cyber infrastructure for everything from communications, to the management of critical infrastructure, to the command and control of our military. This dependence on technology, along with the rapid rate of technological innovation, creates numerous vulnerabilities that our adversaries seek to exploit.

Foreign adversaries can conduct cyber operations to collect intelligence or to disrupt and degrade the effectiveness of the technologies on which we depend. Cyber operations are very attractive to foreign intelligence organizations, non-state actors, criminals, and terrorists because they can be conducted relatively cheaply and easily and offer high returns with a low degree of risk. The risk of exposure is low because cyber operations can be carried out remotely and with a high degree of anonymity. In addition, cyber operations are comparatively inexpensive, and can be conducted rapidly. For all of these reasons, state and non-state actors are increasingly turning to the cyber domain to augment and bolster their respective intelligence activities against the United States in an effort to gain advantage.

Counterintelligence can play a critical role in reversing the benefits that cyber operations afford our adversaries. Insider threat detection programs can increase the likelihood of identifying insider threat activities on our networks. CI collection and analysis increases our understanding of cyber threats and how to defend against them. Offensive CI operations help to identify adversarial tactics and thereby reduce the effectiveness of their cyber operations. Collectively, these counterintelligence activities increase the cost and risk of our adversaries' cyber operations while reducing their benefits, thus providing strategic advantage to the nation. For these reasons, counterintelligence plays a critical role in enhancing the cybersecurity posture of the United States in an increasingly connected world.

Relevant Reports, Briefings & Reading Material: