A string of cyber attacks against multiple political organizations including the Democratic National Committee has left many concerned. There were whispers that perhaps these were state-sponsored attacks aimed to disrupt or undermine the upcoming presidential elections in the United States. The United States has now formally pointed the finger at Russia, saying that “The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises.”
A joint statement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security mentions that these cyber attacks were aimed at disrupting the upcoming presidential elections next month. The statement also mentions that the scope of the intrusions suggests that the authorization could only have come from the highest Russian officials.
It merits mentioning here that Russia has long been accused of launching cyber attacks against the United States. Similar claims have also been made against China and North Korea. Russia has always denied any involvement in the cyber attacks, and its denials are certainly not unexpected.
Some attempts were made recently to siphon data from state election systems. While the joint state notes that the attacks originated from servers operated by a Russian company, it’s unclear if the Russian government was involved in this attempt.
People have been reassured in the statement that since voting machines are not connected to the internet and have additional safeguards it won’t be possible for hackers to influence the outcome of the election in some way.