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Cyber Crossover and Its Escalatory Risks for Europe

Cyber crossover cover
Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
September, 2023

The crossover between cybercrime and cyberwarfare has intensified in recent years, particularly against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and mounting tensions between China, Russia and the United States.

This paper delves into specific cyber incidents that employ cybercrime tactics with cyberwarfare objectives, allegedly involving Chinese, Russian or US actors. It examines responses within and among the private sector, the public sector and international forums. Although not directly involved in all of the cases, the European Union (EU) was impacted in a variety of ways, including as a result of spillover effects and intentional targeting. Drawing on an examination of cyber incidents, this paper highlights how emerging trends in actors, means and responses present escalatory risks for the EU and emphasizes the pressing need to bolster cybersecurity measures. 


I. Introduction

II. Governance of cybercrime and cyberwarfare

III. Case studies on cyber incidents

IV. Escalatory risks for Europe

V. Conclusions


Dr Lora Saalman is a Senior Researcher within SIPRI’s Armament and Disarmament and Conflict, Peace and Security research areas.
Fei Su is a Researcher in the SIPRI China and Asia Security Programme.
Larisa Saveleva Dovgal is a Research Assistant in the SIPRI Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme