But the panel highlighted the risks of mobilising non-state cyber groups to participate in a war. Rogers noted his concerns about “inadvertent escalation,” given these groups are not closely controlled by Russia or Ukraine, but instead have a broad licence to “cause harm.”
As to the effectiveness of these non-state groups, the panel agreed that most of their activities so far have been of low-intensity and minor consequence. However, it’s possible that the unprecedented call to digital arms is contributing to the wider “information war” between the countries.
MacGibbon observed that, so far in the war, “the information dimension of cyber has had much greater effect than cyber as a disruptive tool.” Martin suggested that Russia may rue leaving Ukraine’s internet access undisrupted, as Ukrainian Prime Minister Zelenskyy has used it to great effect garnering international support.