K_pix_1Abstract: Russian Offensive Cyber Capabilities, Policy and Practice

Russian cyber attacks are numerous,serious, sophisticated and increasingly geopolitically motivated. Consequently, it is important to pay attention to Russian cyber capabilities, policy and practice. In doing this, it is important to understand that Russia is characterized by a unique nexus of government, business and crime and that corruption is the dominant feature of the Russian polity. In this context, we see some trends to watch: the militarization of cyber, cross-fertilization of government and criminal malware, cyber-espionage and advanced persistent threat (APT) interests that extend far beyond normal criminal activity.


Dr. Khatuna Mshvidobadze is a Principal at Cyberlight Global Associates who leads our threat intelligence research and analysis. She is also Adjunct Professor of Cybersecurity at Utica College, NY, which is designated by NSA and DHS as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education, and Senior Associate at the Georgian Security Analysis Center in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Dr. Mshvidobadze has been Deputy Director of the Information Center on NATO and Adviser to the Office of the Minister of Defense of Georgia. An expert on geopolitics, cyber intelligence and cyber policy, her articles have appeared in Georgian and in English in Defense News, Jane’s Defence Weekly, Jane’s Foreign Report, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and more. She is also the author of numerous monographs and training courses on cyber issues.

Her presentation, New threats: Energy Security, Cyber Defense, Critical Infrastructure Protection, at the 2009 Bucharest Conference on NATO and the New Strategic Concept is listed as a source in the official bibliography of the new NATO strategic concept.

Her Presentation on Russian Cyber Capabilities, Policy and Practice has been presented at FBI Headquarters and field offices, US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Justice, US Defense Intelligence Agency, Ministry of Defense of Estonia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Ministry of Defense of Georgia, as well as in various American private companies, think tanks, institutions and associations. She is frequently a guest speaker at various international conferences.

Dr. Mshvidobadze holds a B.A. in English and Western Literature from Tbilisi State University, an M.B.A. from Caucasus School of Business, an M.S. in Cyber Forensics and Intelligence from Utica College and a Ph.D. from Georgian Technical University.  Her M.S. thesis was on Russian cyber threats to its neighbors and to America. Her doctoral dissertation was on Cyber Policies and Politics in the Modern Era. In the autumn of 2011, she was a Rumsfeld Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. She is a native Georgian speaker, fluent in English and Russian and proficient in basic Turkish.