After public accusations against Russia concerning cyber-attacks against Democratic Party organisations in the recent U.S. presidential election, President Barack Obama has ordered a full intelligence agency review.
Accused in October
Back in October, Russia was formally accused by the U.S. government of launching cyber-attacks against Democratic Party organisations during the 2016 election campaign. Since Donald Trump’s election as President on November 8th, and following his praising Putin and public dismissal of the idea of Putin and Russia’s influence or interference, the matter has snowballed into a global news story and has become the focus of Democrats’ anger and suspicion.
Report Before He Leaves Office
President Barack Obama has given U.S. intelligence agencies a relatively short time to ensure that a report about the whole matter is delivered before he formally leaves office on January 20th 2017.
As well as establishing areas of responsibility and guilt for certain players in the matter, it is hoped that the report will capture lessons about the U.S. election process in the future, and provide important stakeholders such as Congress with a clear and accurate summary of what has happened.
According to spokespeople from the White House, the report requested by Obama will not just take into account recent activity but will be based in a review of behaviour patterns that could go as far back as the 2008 presidential election.
President Obama is reported to have warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about the possible consequences for the cyber-attacks. President Obama has also been publicly quoted as saying that the hacking of and leaking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails leading up to the presidential vote were “espionage or propaganda”.
Motivators For The Report
As well as the idea that Democrats may be simply reacting to a dirtier than expected campaign and their candidate’s loss, political commentators have pointed out that recent demands by Democratic lawmakers to declassify more intelligence on the alleged hackings have been a key motivator in the ordering of the report now. Some commentators have also said that a review and report would also help Democrats to determine how much material related to the subject could be made public.
Russian officials are reported to have denied any interference in the U.S. elections and President-elect Trump is reported to have told Time Magazine “I don’t believe they interfered”.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
What this story should illustrate to businesses is that if secure government systems can be (allegedly) hacked, then it follows that our own business websites, emails, and data storage systems may well be vulnerable to attacks and data breaches if at least basic security measures are not put in place.
Security of your data and systems is now likely to be something that is no longer just responsibility of your IT department, but is something that with the aid of investment, training and raised awareness is the responsibility of all members of your organisation to uphold in their daily work. It is also a good idea to make sure that your business has robust, workable, up-to-date, and well-communicated Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans in place.