President Trump’s response to Russia’s multi-pronged cyber attacks, from their malware botnets to their attacks targeting the U.S. energy grid and election systems, has been milquetoast.

The first paragraph of the report should concern everyone;

The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. Evidence of Russian government operations began to surface in mid-2016.

President Trump’s response to Russia’s multi-pronged cyber attacks, from their malware botnets to their attacks targeting the U.S. energy grid and election systems, has been milquetoast.

The United States Intelligence agencies confirmed that a foreign nation interfered with the 2016 American election process.[1] We know two dozen state’s election systems came under attack.[2] The Intelligence Agencies heads unanimously agree that the Russians are still sowing political division.[3] The cyber security head of the Department of Homeland Security has stated that the Russians had successfully penetrated voter registration rolls in several states before the 2016 election.[4] President Trump’s administration has retaliated to these attacks on America’s institutions and infrastructure by penalizing Russians, unfortunately President Trump did not mention the sanctions nor the election meddling during his statement on the nerve agent attack in Britain.[5] President Trump has repeatedly called the Russian election interference a hoax.[6]

President Trump’s actions with regards to Russian interference has been concerning to say the least.

U.S. officials, including former National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster, have claimed that this administration has not done enough to dissuade Russian meddling.[7] For example President Trump put the brakes on new economic sanctions on Russia, a day after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley laid out a preliminary plan to impose new sanctions. This decision by President Trump came after the Kremlin denounced the new sanctions plan as international economic raiding.[8] Furthermore, NSA Director Admiral Rodgers testified to Congress that Trump had given no order to counter Russian election meddling.[9] While former National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster warned of Russian election meddling and publicly denounced their continued attacks, he was removed by President Trump and John Bolton took his place. National Security Advisor Bolton pushed to eliminate a top Cyber-Security position in the White House as he attempted to reorganize the National Security Council.[10]

Russia’s multi-pronged cyber attacks:

Russian cyber interference goes far beyond hacking election systems. The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have accused the Russian government of a multi-stage intrusion campaign targeting the U.S. energy grid. These attacks included critical infrastructure in energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water facilities, and aviation facilities. Here is the report by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team where analytic efforts undertaken by DHS and the FBI have found a multistage intrusion campaign perpetuated by the Russian state.[11] This isn’t fake news, the United States is under cyber attack from Russia.

This joint Technical Alert (TA) is the result of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This alert provides information on Russian government actions targeting U.S. Government entities as well as organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. It also contains indicators of compromise (IOCs) and technical details on the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used by Russian government cyber actors on compromised victim networks. DHS and FBI produced this alert to educate network defenders to enhance their ability to identify and reduce exposure to malicious activity.

Furthermore, the FBI has attempted to thwart a sophisticated malware system that is linked to Russia’s military intelligence agency, the Russian malware has infected hundreds of thousands of routers.[12] The Justice Department has announced actions to disrupt the advanced botnet malware system. It is recommended to restart your router as it may be infected.[13]

What has President Trump done?

President Trump suggested a joint cyber security unit with Russia to stop election hacking, he got the idea after meeting Putin at the G20 summit. He later backtracked on this ridiculous suggestion after facing harsh criticism.[14] In 2018 Vladimir Putin reiterated the idea of a joint cyber security unit at the Helsinki joint press conference. During the same conference President Trump publicly defended Russia explicitly denying their role in election interference.[15]

1) New York Times – Trump Misleads on Russian Meddling: Why 17 Intelligence Agencies Don’t Need to Agree

2) NPR – 10 Months After Election Day, Feds Tell States More About Russian Hacking

3) Washington Post – The nation’s top spies said Russia is continuing to target the U.S. political system

4) Washington Examiner – DHS official: Russians ‘successfully penetrated’ voter registration rolls in several states before 2016 election

5) New York Times – White House Penalizes Russians Over Election Meddling and Cyberattacks

6) New York Times – Indictment Makes Trump’s Hoax Claim Harder to Sell

7) Washington Post – America is still unprepared for a Russian attack on our elections

8) Washington Post – Trump puts the brakes on new Russian sanctions, reversing Haley’s announcement

9) New York Times – White House Has Given No Orders to Counter Russian Meddling, N.S.A. Chief Says

10) Politico – Bolton pushing to eliminate White House cyber job

11) Department of Homeland Security: United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) – Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors

12) New York Times – F.B.I.’s Urgent Request: Reboot Your Router to Stop Russia-Linked Malware

13) United States Department of Justice – Justice Department Announces Actions to Disrupt Advanced Persistent Threat 28 Botnet of Infected Routers and Network Storage Devices

14) Reuters – Trump backtracks on cyber unit with Russia after harsh criticism

15) NPR – In Helsinki, Trump Appeared To Side With Russia Over U.S. Intelligence Community

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