“Don’t pull anything funny on Election Day, Russia,” New York Daily News wrote last week.
Apparently, tensions are high.
New York Daily News goes on to outline how U.S. military hackers are preparing secret cyber weapons to hit back if Russian forces try to interrupt US networks on Election Tuesday.
Intelligence officials are mum on what covert cyber weapons they’re going to deploy, as mentioned in classified documents revealed by NBC News.
The US military publicly boasts its advanced cyber defense systems. Simultaneously, US officials are warning of possible attacks by Russia or China.
Malware could shut off internet across the US, say military officials. Smaller cyberattacks are also possible, such as bogus polling documents or general misinformation. Just recently, a U.S. cyberattack took offline many important internet servers.
“Russian hackers have been especially problematic for U.S. politics this year,” writes NY Daily News.
The Democratic National Committee’s servers were hacked in July. Hillary Clinton and others blamed Russia.
“And we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin,” she said at the time. “His praise for Putin, which is, I think, quite remarkable.”
“As president, I will make it clear that the United States will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack,” said presidential nominee Ms. Clinton. “We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses.”
In a presidential debate, presidential nominee Donald Trump said:
As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said. We should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we’re not. I don’t think anybody knows that it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia—I don’t, maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay?
Concern over election days hacks are growing, NPR reports. 46 states asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help ensure systems are protected from disruptions. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted say his state worked with “all available public and private cyber security experts” to test Ohio’s voting systems, including a newly-created cyber security unit.
“Where they found them, then we were able to fix them, shore them up, to make sure that things were as secure as they could be heading into the general election,” Husted says.
The Department of Homeland Security is running “cyber hygiene” scans on systems connected to the Internet, along with risk and vulnerability assessments.
James Lewis, cybersecurity expert who believes Russia might try to undermine the nation’s electoral process, says people might expect “something unusual” on Election Day or the day prior.
Just yesterday, an “unprecedented” attack took Liberia’s internet down. Multiple attacks against Liberia’s rudimentary internet infrastructure have have intermittently taken the country’s websites offline over the course of a week,” reports the Telegraph. “Although it isn’t clear who was behind either attack, experts said the method used was simple enough to have been launched by a lone actor and that it appeared to have come from the same source.”