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Russia's likely response to sanctions: cyber attack

Former head of U.S. Cyber Command is available to speak with media

EVANSTON, Ill. — Michael Rogers, a Northwestern University professor who spent four years as Commander, U.S. Cyber Command and was previously the director of the National Security Agency, said that Russia’s likely response to Western sanctions will come in the form of cyberattacks and information warfare.

Rogers retired from the U.S. Navy in 2018 after more than three decades of service, rising to the rank of four-star admiral. He is now senior fellow and adjunct professor in the Kellogg School of Management. He can be reached at

Quote from Michael Rogers

“To this point, the U.S. has used an economic tool (sanctions) as the primary response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; Russia has no ability to impose economic restrictions on the U.S. in return, so they likely will respond with information manipulation and cyber-attacks in U.S., Europe, Australia, etc. Putin will view cyberattacks as one of few tools in his arsenal to increase pressure on political decision-makers. Russia has shown willingness to distort and force political action — I think you’ll see that again. Moscow doesn’t have a lot of options to impact the West, other than energy, cyber information, etc.”

V.S. Subrahmanian is also available. He is a Buffett Faculty Fellow and the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern. His research focuses on cybersecurity policy, malicious behavior on social media and artificial intelligence. He can be reached by contacting Mohamed Abdelfattah at

Quote from V.S. Subrahmanian

“Russia is the foremost proponent of hybrid warfare, which mixes kinetic elements with cyberattacks and social media influence campaigns. For over a decade, they have carefully honed their cyberwarfare capabilities through attacks on Ukraine and the Baltic states. It is almost certain that Russia has created backdoors and embedded malware in numerous U.S. targets. I expect these targets to include critical infrastructure such as the power grid and gas pipelines. If Russia is cut off from the SWIFT banking system and/or if other sanctions are placed on them, they may respond by attacking the banking and finance sector in a move they might consider to be a tit-for-tat response.”