As tension continues to build between Russia and the US over alleged cyber attacks, the US has begun contemplating issuing its own set of cyber attacks against the Kremlin. As we covered last weekend, the US government has formally accused Russia of being responsible for breaking into official servers and walking away with a trove of emails relating to the DNC.
While as of last weekend, we were unaware of what counter-action the US might take, the picture this week has just become a little clearer.
According to officials close to the matter, the US government is in the planning stages of deciding what kind of retaliation is suitable against Russia, while weighing the risk of potential backlash. If the US wants to target the Russian banking system, for example, Russia could quite easily strike back in the same manner. The risks with a retaliation are high, and for that reason, the US is taking its time to consider the right plan of action.
If it seems hasty that the US is now considering retaliation against Russia for this particular incident, it's worth bearing in mind that the country has been planning similar attacks for quite some time. The problem, of course, is that there are risks for all attacks, so if not planned carefully, the US could put itself in an even worse situation.
Reports are filtering out that the US could have ways to reveal sensitive financial information of Russian officials, including president Vladimir Putin. If so, the US could also choose to attack Russia's internal firewall that prevents citizens from accessing a bulk of the Web. Exposing Putin or the Kremlin could be a feather in the cap of the US though that still leaves the door open for back and forth attacks. Regardles, the US is reportedly weighing such options.
It would be wise, obviously that the US keeps quiet on its intentions at this point, and not talk about retaliation. However, Sean Kanuck, a former US intelligence official, warned that no action could be worse than the outcome of any other action. Kanuck noted, "if you publicly accuse someone and don't follow it up with a responsive action, that may weaken the credible threat of your response capability."
What's clear for sure at this point is that something is bound to go down sooner than later, as the US is adamant that Russia is trying to interfere with the US election. That's something the current US administration simply cannot allow.