Although much of the activity is being done in secret, American government entities are reported to be firing up strong efforts to resist Russian attempts to meddle in the 2020 election, following the massive interference in America’s 2016 voting procedures.
Through steadfast journalism, the New York Times has reported that a new law is being followed in order to attempt to block or alleviate cyber attacks by Russian operatives.
Two administration officials said they believed that President Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to replace “inplants” — software code that can be used for surveillance or attacks – inside the Russian grid.
The newspaper reported that the workers worry that Trump might provide details about the operations against Russia and the possibility he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials.
In 2017, Trump shared information about a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.
Because the new law defines the actions in cyberspace as akin to traditional military activity on the ground, in the air or at sea, no such briefing would be necessary.
The activity involves stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cyber tools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.
In interviews over the past few months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.
Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.
But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.
The administration declined to describe specific actions it was taking under the new authorities, which were granted separately by the White House and Congress last year to United States Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military’s offensive and defensive operations in the online world.
Defense expert John R. Bolton said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort “to say to Russia, or anybody else that’s engaged in cyber operations against us, ‘you will pay a price.’”
In previous editorials, this newspaper has complained about the apparent lack of activity designed to alleviate or block cyber attacks against America’s long-standing election practices.
We’re happy to report that the government is using high-powered technology services by our cyber experts to correct this abhorrent international activity.
We still believe that the government and private industry should be doing more, much more, to halt this new kind of warfare.
The computer age was born in America and our cyber geniuses should keep our nation well out in front to combat the menaces this new technology has thrust upon the planet.