Striking the Right Balance: How to Publicly Attribute a Cyber Operation to Another State

SNV in the Media

For Directions Blog, Christina Rupp wrote an op-ed on how to publicly attribute cyber operations.

In recent years, publicly attributing the authorship of malicious cyber operations to another state has become an increasingly popular policy response for many states, including Russia and China. Given the accusatory nature of public attributions and the fact that states typically attribute operations to their adversaries, it is imperative that attributing states not merely publicize their attributions but reasonably explain and justify why they made them public. She explains that when balancing disclosing and strategically withholding information, states should consider describing the operation’s significance and irresponsibility as well as substantiating their attribution. These parameters can complement each other to provide a compelling, clear, and precise framing of a public attribution. They also offer starting points for a broader strategic reflection by states on how they intend to use this policy instrument.

The article draws on insights from Alexandra Paulus and her *recent study* [ outlining the state of play and decisionmaker’s policy options when communicating official public political attributions.

Published by: 
Directions Blog
February 14, 2024

Christina Rupp