US officials fear the Russians have been using cyber weapons to influence the US election and are using the internet to do so, a new report claims.
Key points:US intelligence officials are concerned about the impact of the Russian cyber-attacks on the US political system and the nation’s electoral systemThe US is investigating Russian interference in the US presidential election, including allegations of cyber-meddlingThe report, which is based on interviews with current and former intelligence officials, is a follow-up to the earlier, bipartisan report on Russian interference published in January 2018The intelligence community has long been concerned about Russia’s ability to influence US politics.
The FBI and other agencies have been investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential campaign.
In the new report, released on Monday, the US intelligence community is concerned about a number of potential impacts on US political processes, including the impact on the outcome of the 2020 elections and the impact that the Russians could have on the 2020 presidential race.
In addition to the threats that the Russian government may have on US elections, the report warns that Russia could also use cyber-attackers to influence public opinion in other ways, including influencing the election of US President Donald Trump.
“The potential for Russia to compromise the integrity of US elections and influence public perceptions of US public opinion, including through cyber-aggression, is extremely real,” the report said.
“Russian efforts to influence American public opinion include attempts to influence social media platforms, the media, and political campaigns, to disrupt the US elections process, to influence online political discourse, and to influence individuals, organizations, and foreign governments, and the US public at large.”
The report said that the use of cyber warfare to influence elections in the United States is an issue that the US has been struggling with for years, but it has been exacerbated by the advent of new technologies such as social media.
“In 2016, we identified the emergence of new tools, including social media, to facilitate the flow of information to voters in a manner that was conducive to the election outcome,” the CIA said in a statement.
“These tools facilitate the distribution of information across the internet, including online forums and social media sites.”
We have also identified the development of new means for cyber-intrusions, such as spear-phishing, to compromise and exploit computers and networks to access sensitive data.
“The new report said there were a number areas of concern about the extent to which the Russians are using these tools.”
Russia’s efforts to interfere in the election by spear-pushing malware and hacking campaigns on social media and online forums are particularly concerning given the increased number of states that have adopted new cybersecurity laws that criminalize cyberattacks against US persons,” the agency said.
Russia is believed to have deployed cyber-weapons to influence events in the run-up the 2016 presidential election in the form of a spear-based attack known as Fancy Bear.
FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress last year that he believed Russia’s use of hacking and cyber-weaponry during the US Presidential election was part of a larger strategy.”
The CIA said it would not comment on specific allegations made by the report. “
But I think that the degree to which they’re going to be able to do that and use that to their advantage, I think, is going to give us the confidence to continue to use them.”
The CIA said it would not comment on specific allegations made by the report.
However, it pointed to the report’s conclusion that the CIA was concerned about “the likelihood of a cyber-influence operation by the Russian Federation” and said it had identified the Russians as a threat to US democracy.
“Based on our assessment of the activities of Russian military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies and their capacity to carry out such an operation, we have significant concerns about the likelihood of such an event taking place,” the intelligence community said.
“While we do not believe that the specific cyber-efforts described in this report constitute a direct threat to our national security, we believe they are consistent with Russian efforts to try to influence and undermine the United State’s democratic processes.”
The CIA, in its report, also highlighted the importance of keeping an eye on “cyber-capable” countries, and warned that they were “particularly susceptible to the Russian interference campaign”.
“While our assessments of the capabilities of foreign adversaries and of the impact and impactability of cyberattacks are based on assessments that we make at the request of the foreign government concerned, we also take the view that these assessments are not based on an exhaustive assessment of all aspects of the adversary’s cyber capabilities,” the bureau said.
The intelligence agency warned that the impact from a cyber attack could “inadvertently undermine the integrity” of US democracy and influence the election