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US Lacks Co-ordination Against Russian Cyber Aggression, Admits Top General

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Washington lacks ‘effective’ co-ordination against Russian cyber attacks, says NATO Supreme Commander

A leading American General has slammed the ability of the United States to effectively combat Russia’s cyber threats.

The comments were made by the top US general in Europe, namely Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.

General Scaparrotti made the surprising admission whilst speaking to a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Russian internet © Pavel Ignatov Shutterstock 2012

Poor Co-ordination

General Scaparrotti was quoted by Reuters as saying on Thursday that the US government did not have an effective unified approach to deal with Russia’s cyber threat.

This is despite the fact that US officials and US intelligence agencies have repeatedly warned that Russia is seeking to interfere in the 2018 mid-term US elections, either via social media (to spread fake news, misleading reports or propaganda) or plain old hacking attacks.

In January Trend Micro said that the ‘Fancy Bear’ hacking group (allegedly linked to the Russian military), had attacked a number of political targets in 2017, including the US Senate and organisations linked to the Olympic Games.

That group is best known for hacking the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and releasing sensitive documents including internal emails ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

“I don’t believe there is an effective unification across the interagency, with the energy and the focus that we could attain,” General Scaparrotti reportedly told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

The General had been asked by Democrat Senator Jack Reed whether he believed the different parts of the government had a co-ordinated effort to confront Russia’s cyber threat.

However General Scaparrotti said that the United States’ understanding of Russian cyber infrastructure was not satisfactory.

Patriotic Hackers?

“We’re getting a better understanding of it, (but) I would not characterise it as a good picture at this point, not satisfactory to me,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Russia has always denied it had meddled or interfered in the US Presidential election in 2016.

However in July last year, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin declared that while the country’s government had never been involved in cyber attacks against other countries, he did say that patriotic Russian citizens could be responsible.

The United States has officially blamed Russia for election hacking, and as a result expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the US.

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