Asymmetrical warfare or hybrid war is a way of a nation state attacking another without using traditional means. This could be a propaganda and misinformation campaign or a hacking attack for example on the power grid. These methods have been used recently against the UK and the US by Russia in our recent elections. It also includes attacking satellites in order to disrupt technologies. Though we laugh at the idea of a “Space Force” it might actually be necessary. The point of the misinformation campaigns is to sow seeds of doubt and mistrust into the population. This is why skepticism and using evidence is more important than ever.
The Gerasimov Doctrine was released in February 2013 and stated that Russia saw these methods as fair game and would inflict them on The West in the coming years. This led to the creation of the notorious troll farm in St Petersburg, run and financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin. Prigozin is known as Putin’s chef as he held catering contracts for the Russian army. This troll farm helped fuel a massive misinformation campaign for the 2016 EU referendum and the 2016 US presidential election. Though we can never prove how much of an impact this misinformation campaign had on the results the Russians felt it was successful and have vowed to use it again. Some of the more recent antivax information has been traced back to Russian trolls as well.
The Russians are the only country to have released a declaration of using these methods but most countries employ them to some extent. There are plenty of stories from the past of the CIA infiltrating countries and using underhanded methods to achieve their goals. The Stuxnet virus that was used effectively against Iran was a collaborative attempt with the UK and Israel helping the US. It is known similar methods were used in to North Korea to disrupt rocket launches too. North Korea has some top notch government hackers and have attacked companies in the US and UK. It seems this is the future of warfare as it has a huge impact for minimal cost. This is why we need factchecking and skepticism to try and keep the world properly informed.