Regardless of your political affiliation, it is clear that Donald Trump’s campaign has been tainted by the allegations of Russian hacking; however, according to recent reports, these might be more than just allegations. On December 29, the FBI released a report coauthored by the Department of Homeland Security, announcing that Russian tampering had almost undeniably happened in the election. Per the report, the hacking started much earlier than people realize, in approximately mid-2015, when Russia began leaking emails from top government officials. Following the December report, Ex-President Obama ordered a series of retaliatory measures, including the firing of 35 Russian intelligence officers and the sanctioning of the GRU and the FSB (Russian intelligence agencies). While suspicions and accusations had been leveled against Russia prior to this report, the aforementioned report served as the first official document verifying the rumors that had been circulating for quite some time.
It is evident now that one of the main parts of the Russian hacking campaign was to divide the Democratic party and force Hillary Clinton to deal with attacks on more than one front. The Russian campaign essentially hoped to force her to respond to both political and personal attacks. One example that affirms this Russian goal was the fact that Russian hackers obtained DNC (Democratic National Committee) emails and divided them into smaller, out-of-context propaganda pieces to spread discord throughout the party. Although we cannot determine whether these leaks could have changed the outcome of the election, we can say for certain that they shifted the focus from political questions to personal attacks.
On a political level, the American government has responded to the Russian hack, but we remain just as vulnerable to future attacks. With rapid advances in technology and technical skill, cyber security is an area that must be constantly addressed; significant measures need to be taken to repair the vulnerabilities in our system exposed by the Russian tampering. Government officials have vowed to prevent this situation from repeating itself but despite these promises, we must first see verifiable results before we can once again rest assured in our cyber security. Although it seems as though the investigation has been concluded, the future remains unclear as the American people are still not privy to what President Trump’s policies on cyber security and Russia will be. Regardless of all the doubt, fear, and criticism circulating through the public and the media, one thing is for certain: Americans must unite to repair and overcome the wounds rendered by this divisive election in order to prosper once again.
Donald Trump and Russian hacking seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly or popcorn and the movies. While Trump continues to deny that Russia was involved in the hacking of the election, he can’t shake this topic from his presidency. On December 29, the FBI released a report which was cowritten by the Department of Homeland Security, squarely blaming Russia for messing with the 2016 presidential election. Per the report, the hacking started much earlier than people realize, in mid-2015. An email was sent to over 1,000 Americans, including government targets, from the FSB, Russia’s foreign intelligence agency. On the same day, Obama ordered a series of retaliatory measures, including the firing of 35 Russian intelligence officers and the sanctioning of the GRU and the FSB. The Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence had claimed that Russia was behind the hacking in October, but this report was the first evidence pointing the finger at Russia.
Part of the Russian hacking campaign was designed to split the Democratic party to make Hillary Clinton deal with attacks about her emails and other private information instead of talking about her policies. One example is that hackers obtained Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and sliced them into small bits to use them as propaganda tools. Whether these leaks and the hacking general affected the outcome is tough to say. What people can say is that these leaks drove the conversation away from policies and towards Clinton’s emails.
As mentioned earlier, the government already responded to Russia in terms of a political level, but what can America do in terms of cyber security? How can we ensure that something like this won’t happen again? Well, cybersecurity is a new area, and one that is constantly evolving. With the rapid advances in technology, it can be hard for the government to make sure they are protected from all forms of attack. However, this campaign has been a wakeup call to the government, as they have said that they will take more action to prevent this situation from happening again. However, with the newly sworn in President Trump denying the involvement of Russia in the hacking and telling Americans to move on, the future is also somewhat uncertain. What will Trump’s policies be for cybersecurity? Will Trump get tough on Russia? Only time will tell. All we know is that America needs to improve our cyber security to keep the integrity of our democracy and the presidential election process.