Russia Gearing Up to Increase Scope of its Hacking
Ashley Allen / 2 years ago
Working with Wikileaks over the last year, Russian hackers had a big hand in undermining the Presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, with many attributing the election of Donald Trump to the efforts of Julian Assange’s whistleblowing organisation. Emboldened by the influence they appear to have exerted over the democratic process of a global superpower – and key rival – the Russians will now attempt to exert more power over political events globally in the coming months and years, according to a number of cybersecurity experts.
“What they’ll learn from this is, ‘We did it, we got away with it, we got the outcome we wanted,’” James Lewis, a cybersecurity-focused fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Wired. “This will only increase their desire to intervene.”
The Russians will likely have their eye on Western Europe, with upcoming national elections in France and Germany in 2017, plus the possibility of the UK’s tenuous position as a member of the EU being decided by the House of Commons following recent legal action to reaffirm the sovereignty of Parliament.
“They’re concerned that the blueprint used now against the US will be used against them in upcoming election cycles,” Dmitri Alperovitch, CEO of the security firm Crowdstrike, said. “They’re concerned that the precedent that’s been set is that you can do this against the US, and if so, that they’ll be walked all over by Russia.”
Crowdstrike identified Fancy Bear (aka APT28) – responsible for a massive DNC hack in July – as being a Russian hacker group, and Trend Micro has confirmed that the group has been especially active over the past few weeks, hitting “various governments and embassies around the world.”
Experts are not only fearful that the efforts of Russian hackers will be difficult to counter, but also that the increasingly right-leaning general public – evidenced by recent election results in the West – have become more receptive to implicitly supporting aggression against neoliberal governments.
“The ground is becoming more fertile for Russia’s influence operations,” Thomas Rid, Professor of War Studies at King’s College London, with a focus on cybersecurity, said. “Trump is the embodiment of that.”
Not content with influencing American politics, it seems Russian hacking efforts are set to escalate exponentially over the next year, and there seems to be little that vulnerable governments can do to combat it.