Russian Hacking Accusations Sours Russia-US Relations

20 Oct

Russian Hacking Accusations Sours Russia-US Relations

In the age of cloud computing for everything from picture storage to banking, cyber security is one of the most important security issues on the international stage. The recent hacking allegations against Russia, not to mention the internet being used as a recruitment tool for ISIS terrorist cells, points to a new kind of war.

Where Did It Start?

The recent hack that started the strain between the U.S. and Russia occurred in June when a cybersecurity firm discovered a hack against the Democratic National Committee. The attack was narrowed down to two hacking groups who are believed to be Russian intelligence agencies. 24 hours later, a Romanian hacker, Guccifer 2.0, took credit for the breach and began leaking stolen documents to the media, including Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Where’s the Proof

While the U.S. government has not publicly named the responsible agencies, the Department of Homeland Security has formally accused the Russian government of the attack. U.S. officials report that the hack showed traits of previous attempts by two Russian intelligence agencies they refer to as APT28 and APT29. The Department of Homeland Security stops just short of tying the hacks to the Kremlin, indicating that, while there is enough proof to link the attacks to Russian intelligence, there is not enough proof to tie it directly to the Kremlin.

What is Russia Up To?

What reason does Russia have to meddle in the election? According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Russian hack was a direct attempt to interfere with the election process and to undermine the trust that Americans have in the voting process. There are those who believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin has a vested interest in helping Donald Trump win the election. While it appears as though Putin and Trump would be on friendly terms, there is no evidence to support the theory.

Where Do We Go From Here?

It’s clear from these breaches that the Russian government now has a better understanding of the U.S. election process and why attacking either party could influence public opinion and thereby the elections. The White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, announced that the U.S. would carry out a proportional response to Russia’s hack. While the planned response will not be pre-announced, all of this comes amid Russia’s support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his siege of Allepo, drawing further concern regarding Putin’s recent behaviors.

The tension between America and Russia is at its peak since the height of the the cold war. It’s unclear how far the two superpowers will go in their efforts to flex their muscles, while protecting their nations. What is clear is the growing importance of cyber security.

David Firester specializes in intelligence analysis and is founder of TRAC Intelligence.

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