Thomas Rid

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Thomas Rid
Dr Thomas Rid, Reader, Department of War Studies, Kings College London (8514834897).jpg
Cyber Security and Global Interdependence: "What is Critical?", Chatham House, 28 February 2013
Born1975 (age 4849)
Academic background
Alma mater Humboldt University of Berlin

Thomas Rid (born 1975 in Aach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany) [1] [2] is a political scientist best known for his work on the history and risks of information technology in conflict. [3] [4] [5] He is Professor of Strategic Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. Previously he was a professor of security studies at the Department of War Studies, King's College London. [6]



Rid grew up in the rural region of the Hegau, close to Lake Constance and the Germany–Switzerland border. In 1994 he graduated ( Abitur ) from the Nellenburg Gymnasium in Stockach. [7] From 1997 to 2002 he studied social and political science (with Herfried Münkler [8] ) at the Humboldt University of Berlin, and for one year at the London School of Economics. [9] From 2003 to 2005 he was a Fritz Thyssen Foundation Scholar with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany's major government-funded foreign policy think tank, where he wrote his dissertation and first book. He received his Ph.D. from Humboldt University of Berlin in 2006. [9] [10]

In 2006-2007 Rid was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut français des relations internationales (Ifri), a Paris-based think tank dedicated to international affairs. [11] In 2007-2008 he was a postdoc at the RAND Corporation, at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University, and in 2009 a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. [12] In 2009 and 2010 Rid was in Israel conducting research as a visiting scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Shalem Center. [8] In 2010 to 2011, he was fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Konstanz in Germany. [9]

From 2011 to 2016 he researched and taught at the Department of War Studies at King's College. [9] [13] In 2016, he became a professor of strategic studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University. [14]

In October 2011 the Journal of Strategic Studies , a leading international relations journal, published his provocatively titled article, "Cyber War Will Not Take Place". The text argued that all politically motivated cyber attacks are merely sophisticated versions of sabotage, espionage, or subversion—but not war. [15] In a review of his 2013 book with the same title, The Economist considered Rid "one of Britain's leading authorities on, and sceptics about, cyber-warfare". [16]

In 2016, Rid authored an article entitled "How Russia Pulled Off the Biggest Election Hack in U.S. History" [17] and in 2020, authored a book entitled Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare about Soviet and Russian active measures. [18] In 2020, Rid wrote in his Washington Post column that the valuable lessons from 2016 were: We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren't. [19]

Selected publications

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Information warfare</span> Battlespace use and management of information and communication technology

Information warfare (IW) is the battlespace use and management of information and communication technology (ICT) in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent. It is different from cyberwarfare that attacks computers, software, and command control systems. Information warfare is the manipulation of information trusted by a target without the target's awareness so that the target will make decisions against their interest but in the interest of the one conducting information warfare. As a result, it is not clear when information warfare begins, ends, and how strong or destructive it is.

Geopolitics is the study of the effects of Earth's geography on politics and international relations. While geopolitics usually refers to countries and relations between them, it may also focus on two other kinds of states: de facto independent states with limited international recognition and relations between sub-national geopolitical entities, such as the federated states that make up a federation, confederation, or a quasi-federal system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edward Luttwak</span> Romanian–American military strategist (born 1942)

Edward Nicolae Luttwak is an American author known for his works on grand strategy, military strategy, geoeconomics, military history, and international relations. He is best known for being the author of Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook. His book Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace, also published in Chinese, Russian and ten other languages, is widely used at war colleges around the world. His books are currently published in 29 languages besides English.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Nitze</span> American government official

Paul Henry Nitze was an American businessman and government official who served as United States Deputy Secretary of Defense, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department. He is best known for being the principal author of NSC 68 and the co-founder of Team B. He helped shape U.S. Cold War defense policy over the course of numerous presidential administrations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John E. McLaughlin</span> American intelligence official

John Edward McLaughlin is an American intelligence official who was Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and briefly acting Director of Central Intelligence. He is a Senior Fellow and Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deterrence theory</span> Military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons

Deterrence theory refers to the scholarship and practice of how threats or limited force by one party can convince another party to refrain from initiating some other course of action. The topic gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons and is related to but distinct from the concept of mutual assured destruction, according to which a full-scale nuclear attack on a power with second-strike capability would devastate both parties. The central problem of deterrence revolves around how to credibly threaten military action or nuclear punishment on the adversary despite its costs to the deterrer. Deterrence is one strategy to achieve peace and avoid conflict escalation in peace and conflict studies.

Cyberterrorism is the use of the Internet to conduct violent acts that result in, or threaten, the loss of life or significant bodily harm, in order to achieve political or ideological gains through threat or intimidation. Acts of deliberate, large-scale disruption of computer networks, especially of personal computers attached to the Internet by means of tools such as computer viruses, computer worms, phishing, malicious software, hardware methods, programming scripts can all be forms of internet terrorism. Cyberterrorism is a controversial term. Some authors opt for a very narrow definition, relating to deployment by known terrorist organizations of disruption attacks against information systems for the primary purpose of creating alarm, panic, or physical disruption. Other authors prefer a broader definition, which includes cybercrime. Participating in a cyberattack affects the terror threat perception, even if it isn't done with a violent approach. By some definitions, it might be difficult to distinguish which instances of online activities are cyberterrorism or cybercrime.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies</span> Public policy school of Johns Hopkins University

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a graduate school of Johns Hopkins University based in Washington, D.C. with campuses in Bologna, Italy and Nanjing, China.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Munich Security Conference</span> Annual conference on international security policy

The Munich Security Conference is an annual conference on international security policy that has been held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany since 1963. Formerly named the Munich Conference on Security Policy, the motto is: Peace through Dialogue. It is the world's largest gathering of its kind.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cyberwarfare</span> Use of digital attacks against a nation

Cyberwarfare is the use of cyber attacks against an enemy state, causing comparable harm to actual warfare and/or disrupting vital computer systems. Some intended outcomes could be espionage, sabotage, propaganda, manipulation or economic warfare.

Proactive cyber defense, means acting in anticipation to oppose an attack through cyber and cognitive domains. Proactive cyber defense can be understood as options between offensive and defensive measures. It includes interdicting, disrupting or deterring an attack or a threat's preparation to attack, either pre-emptively or in self-defence.

Cyberwarfare by Russia includes denial of service attacks, hacker attacks, dissemination of disinformation and propaganda, participation of state-sponsored teams in political blogs, internet surveillance using SORM technology, persecution of cyber-dissidents and other active measures. According to investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov, some of these activities were coordinated by the Russian signals intelligence, which was part of the FSB and formerly a part of the 16th KGB department. An analysis by the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2017 outlines Russia's view of "Information Countermeasures" or IPb as "strategically decisive and critically important to control its domestic populace and influence adversary states", dividing 'Information Countermeasures' into two categories of "Informational-Technical" and "Informational-Psychological" groups. The former encompasses network operations relating to defense, attack, and exploitation and the latter to "attempts to change people's behavior or beliefs in favor of Russian governmental objectives."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dmitri Alperovitch</span> American computer security industry executive (born 1980)

Dmitri Alperovitch is an American think-tank founder, author, investor, philanthropist, podcast host and former computer security industry executive. He is the chairman of Silverado Policy Accelerator, a geopolitics think-tank in Washington, D.C., and a co-founder and former chief technology officer of CrowdStrike. Alperovitch is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Russia who came to the United States in 1994 with his family.

A cyberattack is any offensive maneuver that targets computer information systems, computer networks, infrastructures, personal computer devices, or smartphones. An attacker is a person or process that attempts to access data, functions, or other restricted areas of the system without authorization, potentially with malicious intent. Depending on the context, cyberattacks can be part of cyber warfare or cyberterrorism. A cyberattack can be employed by sovereign states, individuals, groups, societies or organizations and it may originate from an anonymous source. A product that facilitates a cyberattack is sometimes called a cyber weapon. Cyberattacks have increased over the last few years. A well-known example of a cyberattack is a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies</span>

The Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the president of Kazakhstan (KazISS) (Kazakh: Қазақстан Республикасы Президентінің жанындағы Қазақстан стратегиялық зерттеулер институты, Qazaqstan Respýblıkasy Prezıdentiniń janyndaǵy Qazaqstan strategııalyq zertteýler ınstıtýty; Russian: Казахстанский институт стратегических исследований при Президенте Республики Казахстан) is a Kazakhstan state institution aimed at providing research and analytical support to the president of Kazakhstan and his government. The KazISS provides research related to international and domestic affairs as well as the social and economic development of Kazakhstan. The KazISS aims to provide predictive research and analysis for the country's leadership.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arnold Wolfers</span> Swiss-American lawyer and scholar

Arnold Oscar Wolfers was a Swiss-American lawyer, economist, historian, and international relations scholar, most known for his work at Yale University and for being a pioneer of classical international relations realism.

Fancy Bear, also known as APT28, Pawn Storm, Sofacy Group, Sednit, Tsar Team and STRONTIUM or Forest Blizzard, is a Russian cyber espionage group. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has said with a medium level of confidence that it is associated with the Russian military intelligence agency GRU. The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office as well as security firms SecureWorks, ThreatConnect, and Mandiant, have also said the group is sponsored by the Russian government. In 2018, an indictment by the United States Special Counsel identified Fancy Bear as GRU Unit 26165. This refers to its unified Military Unit Number of the Russian army regiments. The headquarters of Fancy Bear and the entire military unit, which reportedly specializes in state-sponsored cyberattacks and decryption of hacked data, were targeted by Ukrainian drones on July 24, 2023, the rooftop on one of the buildings collapsed as a result of the explosion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Democratic National Committee cyber attacks</span> 2015-16 data breaches by Russian hackers as part of US election interference

The Democratic National Committee cyber attacks took place in 2015 and 2016, in which two groups of Russian computer hackers infiltrated the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer network, leading to a data breach. Cybersecurity experts, as well as the U.S. government, determined that the cyberespionage was the work of Russian intelligence agencies.

<i>The Plot to Hack America</i> Non-fiction book by Malcolm Nance

The Plot to Hack America: How Putin's Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election is a non-fiction book by Malcolm Nance about the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. It was published in paperback, audiobook, and e-book formats in 2016 by Skyhorse Publishing. A second edition was also published the same year, and a third edition in 2017. Nance researched Russian intelligence, working as a Russian interpreter and studying KGB history.

The public opinion brigades is a state-sponsored web brigade of the Communist Party of Vietnam or linked to the Communist Government of Vietnam.


  1. "Cyber-Krieg mit China?". Eine Veranstaltung der Reihe "Körber Debate" (in German). Körber Stiftung. Retrieved 9 April 2017. Thomas Rid wurde 1975 geboren.
  2. "Cyber war will not take place: Professor Thomas Rid". (in German). Retrieved 9 April 2017. ... Rid was born in 1975 in Aach, Germany. He studied social and political science and...
  3. Dyer, Geoff (12 October 2016). "US weighs up options in response to Russian hacking". Financial Times . Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  4. Joshi, Shashank (10 May 2013). "Digital Destruction". Financial Times . Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  5. Sterling, Bruce (17 August 2016). "How the Cyber Age Gave Peace a Chance". New Scientist . Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  6. "King's College London - Thomas Rid". Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  7. Zur Person,, 21 January 2011
  8. 1 2 Schlieter, Kai (17 April 2016). "Über Gott hinwegsetzen". tageszeitung . Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Exzellenzcluster „Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration“: Rid, Thomas -Vita, access date: 22 March 2017
  10. Rid, Thomas (10 February 2003). "Präventive Medienstrategie der USA. Militärische Öffentlichkeitsarbeit im Banne eines Krieges" (PDF). Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  11. Rid, Thomas (Nov 2009) [12 April 2007]. "Erst surfen, dann kämpfen!" (PDF). Die Zeit . Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  12. Beckermann, Gal (15 September 2013). "Is Cyberwar Really War?". Boston Globe . Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  13. Thomas Rid: About | Thomas Rid, accessdate: 22 March 2017
  14. Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Thomas Rid.
  15. Rid, Thomas (October 2011). "Cyber War Will Not Take Place". Journal of Strategic Studies. 35: 5–32. doi:10.1080/01402390.2011.608939. S2CID   153828543.
  16. "Digital Doomsters". The Economist . 29 June 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  17. How Russia Pulled Off the Biggest Election Hack in U.S. History, Esquire magazine , 20 October 2016
  18. Active Measures review: how Trump gave Russia its richest target yet, The Guardian
  19. Insisting that the Hunter Biden laptop is fake is a trap. So is insisting that it’s real., The Washington Post, 24 October 2020
  20. Grumbach, Detlef (2 August 2016). "Wenn Mensch und Maschine verschmelzen". Deutschlandfunk . Retrieved 2016-10-25.