The U.S. is Increasing its Cyber Attacks Against Russia

U.S. cybersecurity and Russia have been coinciding more frequently these days. Last year we reported the FBI warned U.S. organizations not to use Kaspersky Lab due to government ties.

FBI officials also raise the issue of Russia’s increasingly expansive surveillance laws and what they charge is a distinct culture wherein powerful Russian intelligence agencies are easily able to reach into private sector firms like Kaspersky with little check on government power.

We warned earlier this year about Russia being a major threat – they have been hacking corporations and more recently, industrial control systems.

President Trump’s new cybersecurity strategy was discussed by National Security Advisor, John Bolton with Maria Bartiromo on her Sunday Morning Futures show on Fox News.

We’re worried about the private sector. We’re worried about government information technology. We think it’s very important to create structures of deterrence by going on the offensive as well, which we’re going to do.

John Bolton

When asked about the biggest threats, he said “It’s China, Russa, Iran and North Korea. We’ve seen it in multiple hacks. The damage was done in both the private and the public sector.”

The New York Times wrote today, the U.S. is escalating its online attacks against Russia’s power grid.

In interviews over the past three 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.

The article continues:

Mr. Trump issued new authorities to Cyber Command last summer, in a still-classified document known as National Security Presidential Memoranda 13, giving General Nakasone far more leeway to conduct offensive online operations without receiving presidential approval.
But the action inside the Russian electric grid appears to have been conducted under little-noticed new legal authorities, slipped into the military authorization bill passed by Congress last summer. The measure approved the routine conduct of “clandestine military activity” in cyberspace, to “deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyberactivities against the United States.”
Under the law, those actions can now be authorized by the defense secretary without special presidential approval.

The new policy is to impose costs on the enemy, until they get the point. It is unknown exactly how far they need to go for this to happen and whether the response to aggression will be attacks on weaker targets.

Since the Desert Storm Iraq war in 1990, the world realized going up against American military might head-to-head was out of the question. Instead, soft targets were chosen such as buildings and docked ships. Citizens who ended up in the wrong place were also killed – including journalists.

In other words, the enemies went after soft targets.

It remains to be seen if attacks from hostile actors ramp up or slow as a result of this new aggression.

Either way, corporations need to be aware that the playing field is changing and increased threats may be on the way.

For more – read Cybersecurity Essentials for Every Business.

 

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