US vows re­sponse to Rus­sian hack at­tack at ‘ap­pro­pri­ate time’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

DI­RECTLY ac­cus­ing Rus­sia of try­ing to ma­nip­u­late the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the United States has vowed to re­spond at a “time and place of our choos­ing”.

“We will take ac­tion to pro­tect our in­ter­ests, in­clud­ing in cy­berspace, and we will do it when we choose to,” a senior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial told AFP, us­ing lan­guage usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with mil­i­tary and counter-terror cam­paigns.

“The pub­lic should not as­sume that they will nec­es­sar­ily know what ac­tions have been taken or what ac­tions we will take.”

Ear­lier, in an un­usual step, US in­tel­li­gence and home­land se­cu­rity pub­licly ac­cused the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment of di­rect­ing cy­ber at­tacks on Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions.

They said a se­ries of email hacks, leaked to DCLeaks.com and Wik­iLeaks by an on­line en­tity known as Guc­cifer 2.0, were “in­tended to in­ter­fere with the US elec­tion process”.

“We believe, based on the scope of these ef­forts, that only Rus­sia’s se­nior­most of­fi­cials could have au­tho­rised these ac­tiv­i­ties.”

The Krem­lin la­belled the al­le­ga­tions as “rub­bish”.

The US an­nounce­ment brought in­stant, bi­par­ti­san de­mands from Congress for ro­bust re­sponse.

“Rus­sia must face se­ri­ous con­se­quences,” said Repub­li­can Se­na­tor Ben Sasse. “Moscow or­ches­trated these hacks be­cause Putin be­lieves Sovi­et­style ag­gres­sion is worth it.”

“The US must up­end Putin’s cal­cu­lus with a strong diplo­matic, po­lit­i­cal, cy­ber and eco­nomic re­sponse.”

Through­out a se­ries of high-pro­file hacks, the gov­ern­ment has rarely pub­licly named the per­pe­tra­tors.

One no­table ex­cep­tion came in 2014, when North Korea was blamed for a re­tal­ia­tor hack against Sony over the less-than-flat­ter­ing por­trayal of a Kim Jong-un-like char­ac­ter in the movie The In­ter­view star­ring Seth Ro­gen and James Franco.

Con­cerned that at­tack would have a chill­ing ef­fect on free speech, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der au­tho­ris­ing ad­di­tional sanc­tions against the regime.

Pol­i­cy­mak­ers have long strug­gled in re­spond­ing to cy­ber­at­tacks, where it’s hard to pin down the au­thor and a pro­por­tional re­sponse is dif­fi­cult to mea­sure.

An at­tack on the elec­tric­ity grid or vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture could be seen as an act of war, but it is less clear whether the same could be said of try­ing to ma­nip­u­late the out­come of an elec­tion.

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