US is officially accusing Russia trying to interfere the 2016 US presidential election, announcing it will adopt all necessary countermeasures to defeat the threat.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security have issued a joint security statement to accuse the Russian government of a series of intrusions into the networks of US organizations and state election boards involved in the Presidential Election.
“The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process” reads the statement.
“We will take action to protect our interests, including in cyberspace, and we will do so at a time and place of our choosing,” a senior administration official told AFP.
“The public should not assume that they will necessarily know what actions have been taken or what actions we will take.”
The US intelligence is publicly accusing the Russian government of conducting a wave of cyber attacks on American political organizations in order to gather intelligence and destroy the election.
The reference is of course to data leaks of the mysterious hacker Guccifer 2.0 that were “intended to interfere with the US election process.”
“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”
Guccifer 2.0 is the entity behind the attack against the Democratic National Committee (DNC). According to the security company CrowdStrike, the attack wasn’t the result of the action of a lone wolf, instead, two sophisticated Russian espionage groups, COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR were involved in the cyber espionage operation.
Of course, Russian authorities have always denied any interference with the Presidential Election.
The US Government is demanding a strong response to these interferences.
“Russia must face serious consequences,” said Republican Senator Ben Sasse.
“Moscow orchestrated these hacks because Putin believes Soviet-style aggression is worth it.” “The United States must upend Putin’s calculus with a strong diplomatic, political, cyber and economic response.”
“it’s critical to convince the Russian government to cease these activities. If it does not, we must develop a strong response.” said the Democrat Dianne Feinstein, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
When approaching such kind of situations, Governments have to solve a series of difficult problems, such as the attribution and the elaboration of proportional response as a deterrence.
The ODNI and DHS are optimists on the resilience to cyber attacks of the Presidential Election machine. Officials from the US government believe that there is little chance Russian hackers could directly affect the election by hacking voting systems.
“The USIC and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assess that it would be extremely difficult for someone, including a nation-state actor, to alter actual ballot counts or election results by cyber attack or intrusion. This assessment is based on the decentralized nature of our election system in this country and the number of protections state and local election officials have in place. States ensure that voting machines are not connected to the Internet, and there are numerous checks and balances as well as extensive oversight at multiple levels built into our election process.” continues the joint statement.
(Security Affairs – Presidential election, Russia)