Just before this week’s news that the US had indicted two Russian intelligence agents and two Russian criminal hackers for the 2014 hack of Yahoo, Britain’s GCHQ called an emergency summit with British politicians following warnings that Russia state-sponsored hacking groups have the capabilities to use cyber attackers to disrupt the next General Election.
According to The Sunday Times, unnamed sources say that state-sponsored hackers, backed by the Kremlin, could use their hacking abilities to disrupt the election process.
With protecting the UK political system now considered “priority work” by the UK intelligence agency, spies are concerned that Russian hackers could do anything –steal and leak internal emails, damage the reputations of political parties by publishing confidential information, or publish private databases of voters’ political views.
Russia has already been accused of utilizing cyberattacks to assist Donald Trump in winning the US presidential election by publishing rival candidate Hilary Clinton’s private emails.
Following the recent revelations about the US Central Intelligence Agency’s cyberespionage arsenal, software vendors reiterated their commitments to fix vulnerabilities in a timely manner and told users that many of the flaws described in the agency’s leaked documents have been fixed.
While these assurances are understandable from a public relations perspective, they don’t really change anything, especially for companies and users that are the target of state-sponsored hackers. The software they use is not less safe, nor better protected, than it was before WikiLeaks published those 8,700-plus CIA documents.
The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security has had enough of state-sponsored hacking, and he wants the US government to take a tougher stance against adversaries — including Russia:
“I’m going to be brutally honest: We’re in the fight of our digital lives, and we are not winning,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) during his keynote address at RSA Conference 2017. “The threat is worse than just espionage. Our democracy itself is at risk. Last year, there was no doubt in my mind that the Russian government tried to undermine and influence our elections.”
In a speech titled “The War in Cyberspace: Why We Are Losing — and How to Fight Back,” McCaul argued the US government must do more to stop state-sponsored hacking and impose tougher consequences on the nations behind these campaigns.
Is cyber the new battleground for reheating and reimagining the Cold War? Can they put a START-like treaty in place to prevent the cyber arms race and state sponsored hacking?
This article was originally published on CyberSecBuzz