The book “Digitalisering og internasjonal politikk” (in Norwegian only) was launched on Monday. The use of digital weapons, not least in war-times, is a rising problem. The researchers Karsten Friis and Håkon Bergsjø, both from NUPI, take a look on different perspectives from leading professional environments on how digitalization affects international politics and conflict dynamics. The Norwegian researchers take also a look on Ukraine’s Astonishing Defense.
As the conflict in Ukraine escalated, experts on digitalization have been speculating about the kind of cyber-attacks that Russia might conduct. However, Russia’s reputation as a digital power nation seems to have failed just as much as Russia’s reputation as a military power.
Ukraine’s cyber defense
Ukraine has been systematically investing in cyber defense for many years. The Ukrainian defense has succeeded in intercepting the Russian invasion forces as well as maintaining its own communication with the outside world. NATO, which has been working for a number of years with Ukraine to increase its cyber defense, signed an agreement a few weeks before the invasion aimed at enhancing cyber cooperation with Ukraine.
Zelensky has had video meetings with world leaders almost daily. Only in the last week he has spoken to the authorities in the United States, Israel and Italy. It strengthens the morale of the Ukrainian people – and the support of the international community.
In what has been referred to as an unprecedented effort in the midst of an armed conflict, a whole “IT army” of volunteers was assembled in response to a request by the minister of digital transformation to support the country’s cyber-defense efforts, with reports of some even operating from within bomb shelters.
Security policy choices
The book by the Norwegian researchers does not focus on the Ukraine’s cyber-defense but rather on what security policy choices and dilemmas the new digital everyday life represents for Norway and the rest of the world.
One thing is for sure, though. Russia wants to destroy the existing communication channels. Maybe they will succeed, because this war is not over yet. But so far it has been astonishingly quiet from Russian hackers.
Norwegian Researchers on Ukraine’s Astonishing Defense, written by Tor Kjolberg