U.S. intelligence officials are investigating Russia‘s possible attempts of spreading misinformation that could have an impact on the upcoming presidential elections.

The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. have alerted authorities about plausible cyber threats that may indicate Russian influence in the United States media reception. Although there is no “definitive proof” of a plan or intention of Russian action acting upon the American electoral system, there is a great concern in order to assess every possible risk that the elections may be exposed to in order to ensure voter confidence.

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U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia President Vladimir Putin at the G20. Image credit: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin

An invisible threat

President Obama said the cyber warfare was part of the arms race and that there is no intention of quickly escalating tensions against Russia. President Obama and President Putin discussed cyber espionage on the G20 meetings, where both heads of state let each other know that the U.S. and Russia share similar abilities on this matter.

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U.S. President Barack Obama at the G20 on September 5, 2016. Image credit: Narendra Shrestha.

But most U.S. officials agree that there appears to be a global campaign trying to spread Russian influence and create disruption on the American democracy. The N.S.A., F.B.I., Homeland Security, and the C.I.A. have taken cybersecurity as one of their top priorities, as it is one of the least-tested methods of warfare, which could have devastating consequences if left untended by a global power of the size of the U.S.

Russian cyber espionage operations in Europe have been uncovered, which allowed U.S. intelligence officials to know how they may translate to the American scenario, which is especially vulnerable in the time of elections, where public opinion has an unprecedented influence on the outcome of U.S.’ direction over the next 4 years.

Democratic senator Harry M. Reid contacted an intelligence official, to which he responded that he was shocked about what was revealed to him about the ongoing Russian cyberoperations.

The hacking of the DNC

The Democratic National Committee said its platforms were hacked in June by Russian entities, but this accusation has not been endorsed by the government. The tracks led to Russian hackers linked to the Russian government.

Donald Trump has suggested that Russia should hack Hillary Clinton in order to retrieve the lost emails that have haunted her since she began her presidential campaign.

Although there is not solid evidence, both Republicans and Democrats appear to recognize that there are clear attempts to try and disrupt the elections. An apparent bipartisan issue, congressmen are soliciting that President Obama confronts Vladimir Putin about the cyber espionage operations.

The Obama administration has not accused Russia of the DNC incident. Putin preemptively denied any involvement in the acts of cyber espionage and named it an attempt to distract the public.

He also claimed that it was impossible to know if Russia had taken part in the intervention of 20,000 emails, located at computers of the Democratic National Committee, which surfaced on WikiLeaks.

It doesn’t really matter who hacked this data from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign headquarters. The important thing is the content was given to the public,” Putin stated.

Source: Washington Post