According to multiple sources, including Secretary of State under Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson, the Kremlin’s varied digital campaign against the United States remains ongoing. While the topic has becoming a politically charged one within the United States, the informed debate is not about whether or not Russia has worked to manipulate events within the United States, but rather, to what extent have they been successful.

While Russia’s cyber warfare apparatus employs a broad spectrum of methodologies, many of their efforts can be sorted into one of three categories:


(AP Photo)

Political Manipulation

Headlines following the 2016 presidential election about the possibility of Trump colluding with the Russian government to win the election created a polarized political atmosphere. Like Benghazi for the previous administration, the shadow of potential fault loomed so large overhead that some within the political debate lost track of the original issue in favor of partisan bickering. Those with their eye on the ball, however, have already begun seeing the same influence campaign at work leading up to midterm elections next year.

In an interview with Fox News earlier this week, Tillerson explained that the United States is still in no position to stop Russian meddling with the democratic election process.

“I don’t know that I would say we are better prepared, because the Russians will adapt as well,” he said comparing the 2016 election to the upcoming 2018 cycle. “The point is, if it’s their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that. We can take steps we can take but this is something that, once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to preempt it.”

Russia hasn’t only been meddling with election-level politics, however. Facebook recently announced that an internal investigation found that Russian troll accounts shared a variety of politically fueled content aimed at both the Right and Left. Sponsored content helped ensure a wide reach, and some 62,500 users even agreed to attend political events invented by Russian trolls, with the intent of sewing political and sometimes racial discord within the nation.