(June 17) Last weekend, the New York Times broke a story about US cyberattacks on Russia particularly against their electrical grid. The report suggests the US has placed massive malware across vital Russian systems.
US could devastate Russian infrastructure if necessaryThe malware would allow the US to launch devastating infrastructure attacks on Russia at a moment's notice if the US administration should wish to do so. The report is quite credible as the US officials have been openly discussing the need to go on the offensive in cyberspace for ages. It also comes after reports of offensive US cyberattacks against Russia during the mid-term election. US counter action during the midterms is described in a NY Post article.The New York Times article noted: "The United States is 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 cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said. 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. Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. 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."Naturally advocates of the new policy include White House hawks such as John Bolton. The aggressive cyberattacks carry the risk of escalating the developing Cold War with Russia.Trump's reaction to the New York Times reportTrump was outraged by the article even though the information it contains is actually available if not widely circulated. He goes beyond calling the New York Times, the "Enemy of the People" as he has done in the past. Now Trump claims that even publishing the story is "a virtual act of Treason". He accused the New York Times of being willing to publish any story "even if it is bad for our country".Trump raged on over the weekend about the Times dishonesty. He then postulated within six years the Times and Trump's other media bête noire the Washington Post would both be gone forever at a time when he claims that his supporters will insist he remain in office beyond his two-term limit.Trump often has flights of fancy in a series of tweets. However, the Times article which just makes clear what has been already revealed from other sources seems to have really set him going. The last thing that this supposedly transparent and populist president wants is to reveal obvious aggressive behavior on the part of the US. Of course the Russians already know what is happening. They are meant to so that they know if they attack the US then they will pay dearly.
Previously published in the Digital Journal