Where is the hacking of the Democrats during the 2016 election heading? I would compare it to one of the major inflection points of the Cold War that changed the behavior of superpowers afterward.
Thomas Rid, professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, has recently made a similar assessment.
“I think this is one of the most serious cyber attacks – if you want to call it that – that we have ever seen. One of the most consequential ones. – Not technically. It’s not like the blackout in Ukraine. – But on the political level I think this is more significant than possibly any other cyber attack that we have ever seen.”
“A lot of credibility at stake.
“I think the evidence is quite strong here.
“What the Russia intelligence community are doing here is setting a de facto norm.”
For all of the search for “norms” in cyberspace, I believe that whatever the US does in retaliation for the DNC Hack will effectively establish the “norm.”
And it begs the question whether the NSA backing off its offensive cyberweapons plans makes sense. I suppose calls for a more aggressive response will get louder the longer businesses are disrupted. But possibly the most interesting effect will be at a corporate-to-society level. If US corporates find themselves targeted for political reasons, particularly at a time when there is a collective souring on various aspects of globalization, the issue of political-hacking could galvanize the industries. That’s a big if, of course. But the threat and pressure of politically-motivated hacking will create a number of responses within the and between the companies. Given the long-term commercial challenges, this could be one of them.
According to this Gizmodo article, the US government has approached US ISPs with a list of IP addresses from which Chinese cyberattacks come.
…covertly, the Department of Homeland Security approached the nation’s major internet service providers with a long list of IP addresses that it believed were connected to the Chinese hackers, and encouraged the service providers to block access to as many as possible. This was no simple request, since some of the IP addresses are tied to Chinese business interests. Interfering with commerce would take this cybersecurity fight to the next level.
The article doesn’t make clear whether US ISPs cooperated. This tactic, along with the naming and shaming of Unit 61398 before Christmas, are the two strategies that the public knows about. The US is developing offensive weapons to use against cyber aggressors but, as it states:
It appears that the government has stopped short of going all Stuxnet on China.
Although, the fact that these cyberweapons are publicized suggests the US wants the world, and by the world, you can include China, to know about them. So maybe their role is more of a threat.