Students & Alumni

Rebekah Koffler (’10) discusses Russia’s underlying scheme regarding recent cyberattacks

On June 2, 2021, IWP alumna and intelligence expert Rebekah Koffler appeared on Fox News to discuss Russia’s recent cyberattacks on the U.S. Colonial Pipeline and JBS meat processing company. These cyberattacks are part of a bigger Russian scheme to destabilize American society, she argued.

 Throughout the interview, Ms. Koffler described how the Kremlin is hoping to restore Russia to its former Soviet Union prestige and how Russia perceives the United States as a roadblock to this mission. As a result of this doctrine, Russia is pursuing a scheme to defeat America, which involves these cyberattacks. She continued by stating that these cyberattacks are nothing new. Ms. Koffler explained that “Russia has been ransacking our networks since the late 90s,” referring to the Russian cyber-espionage campaign known as operation “Moonlight Maze.” This operation was a multi-year, multi-faceted campaign in which Russia infiltrated the Pentagon, NASA, and U.S. weapons labs, stealing massive amounts of valuable information.

Ms. Koffler explained that President Vladimir Putin is escalating these cyberattacks from cyber-espionage campaigns to low-grade cyber warfare by going after vital U.S. infrastructure. This escalation is the result of the fact that these attacks have gone unchecked for over twenty years. Taking this into account, Ms. Koffler condemned U.S. leadership for only spewing rhetoric and not taking action against Russia. She advised U.S. leaders to respond to these attacks but emphasized the immense risk an offensive campaign against Russia entails.

Ms. Koffler concluded the interview by explaining that Russia has been studying the United States and its threshold for tolerating cyberattacks. This threshold is continuing to grow as these attacks go unchecked. She claimed that it is only a matter of time until Russia escalates these attacks in a way that severely threatens American society. To draw the line on this threshold, Ms. Koffler advised that the U.S. should respond to these attacks cautiously and proportionally based on a thorough understanding of Russian strategy, doctrine, and the realities of international relations.

This interview can be found on the Fox News website. Ms. Koffler is also releasing a book discussing Vladimir Putin’s plan to defeat America and re-establish Russia as a superpower titled Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America this July. You can preorder Putin’s Playbook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible (audiobook).

At IWP, Ms. Koffler has given lectures on “Russian Strategy and Cyber Influence Operations Against the United States” and “Russian Cyber Doctrine and the Targeting of U.S. Critical Infrastructure.”

IWP course on Russian Politics and Foreign Policy

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