On Friday at his end of term press conference Barack Obama just put Pandora’s box on the podium, as he took Russia to task for tempering with US elections.
He appeared very determined to retaliate against the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin for their role in the hacking of the DNC (Democratic National Committee), as he put it “Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin.”
While we are still in the wait for the results of the deeper investigation, there are a few things Obama made clear on Friday:
- At the beginning of the summer his administration was alerted to the possibility that the DNC had been hacked.
- At the time they publicly announced what had happened, they did not attribute motives or interpretation for why the Russians might do that. The President’s “primary concern was making sure that the integrity of the election process was not in any way damaged.”
- There was no direct Russian influence on the election and its system.
- Obama told Russia directly to stop this activity and also indicated that there will be consequences for their actions.
According to him their message will be directly received by the Russians and not publicized. Russia’s strategy of not announcing cyber operations has proven to be efficient. It is quite clear that the Americans might fight fire with fire this time.
In a recent interview by CNNMoney former CIA and Cyber Command head General Michael Hayden said that the US government and its hackers should go directly after the specific hackers personally responsible for the attacks.
But no matter how hard the Obama administration tried to avoid getting into some sort of cyber arms race, this event might rewrite America’s cyber history especially when the new president Donald Trump has the cyber pen in hand.