Codebook – January 31, 2019

Before the 2016 election, Western nations’ worst cyberattack nightmare involved sabotage of the electric grid. Meanwhile, the top digital fear among Russians was propaganda campaigns, according to Lincoln Pigman, an Oxford postgraduate researcher who studies the history of Moscow’s political posture on cybersecurity.

Why it matters: The idea for the online information campaign that rolled out against the United States in 2016 wasn’t a stroke of genius out of nowhere. In many ways, it was Russia’s worst fears manifested into a weapon.

  • In fact, the post-mortem of campaign hacking compiled by U.S. intelligence agencies determined that one of the reasons for the attack was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s belief that the U.S. had orchestrated the “Panama Papers disclosure and the Olympic doping scandal as US-directed efforts to defame Russia.”

The big picture: “If you ask the Russian political elite, they will tell you they came

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