Is the Russian Government Cyber Attack US Retaliation?

Image Credit: Shutterstock
Image Credit: Shutterstock

According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) a “cyber-spying virus” was found in the networks of about 20 Russian Government organizations:

It said the hack had been “planned and made professionally”, and targeted state organizations, scientific and defense companies, as well as “country’s critically important infrastructures”.

The malware allowed those responsible to switch on cameras and microphones within the computer, take screenshots and track what was being typed by monitoring keyboard strokes, the FSB said.

Is the Russian cyber attack U.S. retaliation for Russia’s recent hacking of the Democrats’ party?

The cyber attack on Russia comes after the computer networks of both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee were breached in hacks. As we previously reported, Two Russian groups hacked the DNC. One group hacked the DNC network last summer and was monitoring the DNC’s email and chat communications. A second group hacked in during April and targeted the DNC’s opposition research file on Trump. And on Friday the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee confirmed that it too had been hacked in an “intrusion possibly linked to Russian hackers, similar to the DNC breach.”

The Hackers released a treasure trove of embarrassing emails on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. Those emails reignited tensions between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters and cost Democratic Party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz her job.

According to Peter W. Singer, author of Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, there is little doubt the Russians were behind the hacking of the Democrats. In the Reuters’ War College podcast Singer said three cybersecurity companies and the FBI have concluded that Russia was behind the Hacking.

Why would Russia Hack the Democrats? Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says Russia sees attempts to interfere in U.S. politics as payback for what it sees as efforts by the U.S. to influence elections in Russia:

“Of course they see a U.S. conspiracy behind every bush and ascribe far more impact than we’re actually guilty of, but that’s their mind-set,” said Mr. Clapper, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

“And so I think their approach is they believe we are trying to influence political developments in Russia, trying to affect change, and so their natural response is to retaliate and do unto us as they think we’ve done unto them,” he said.