As far as Moscow is concerned, using cyber as a warlike offensive tool is the normative first step in a general attack. After Estonia and Georgia, the Ukraine now experiences it first hand
The prevailing view in the West is that Russia possesses cutting-edge information warfare and electronic warfare capabilities. Experience has shown that Russia does not hesitate to put these capabilities to use as required.
As far back as 2007, during the confrontation between Russia and Estonia whose trigger was the relocating of the Unknown Soldier Monument from the center of Tallinn, the Estonian capital, to the outskirts, Russian elements staged a substantial DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack against Estonia. The actual involvement of the Russian government in this conflict, named by some parties (who went just a little too far) “The First Cyber War”, remains unclear.
The attack against Estonia was a small but sufficient example of the axiom according to which in the era of information it is safe to assume that any military confrontation or political tension will include offensive cybernetic elements: damaging or disrupting of information systems or damaging of critical infrastructure/utility systems and processes through the computers controlling them. That was the case during the South Ossetia war in 2008, when Russian and Georgian forces clashed under controversial circumstances. During that conflict, too, pro-Russian cybernetic attacks staged by “unknown sources” disrupted on-line services and websites of the Georgian government as well as the media and banks. A DDoS attack was even staged against Internet services in Georgia generally. At the time, Georgian sources reported that the civilian cellular communication systems and the communication system of the Georgian Army were attacked as well. The use of cyberspace against Georgia had several objectives such as collection of intelligence and disruption of vital processes, but information warfare was also one of those objectives.