Trump must respond to Russian cyberattacks

This week, American businesses and government institutions reported that Russian hackers had infiltrated sensitive networks throughout their systems and were still present and able to cause immeasurable damage.
As of the writing of this editorial there has been little comment about the attacks coming from the White House and President Trump has neither tweeted nor spoken of the attacks.
The extent of the breach is still being examined by officials but we do know that the computer systems at the Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security departments were successfully infiltrated.
A U.S. official, speaking anonymously to the Associated Press on Thursday said the hack was a severe assault on our systems, saying, “This is looking like it’s the worst hacking case in the history of America. They got into everything.”
They got into everything and they’re still there.
In an Opinion piece for the New York Times, Thomas Bossert, a former Trump Homeland Security adviser, said the U.S. should act as though the Russians had full control of those hacked systems, writing, “The actual and perceived control of so many important networks could easily be used to undermine public and consumer trust in data, written communications and services.”
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. described the situation as dire, saying the “Cyber hack is like Russian bombers have been repeatedly flying undetected over our entire country.”’
The hackers initially targeted a network management software company called SolarWinds to infiltrate other private and government computer networks.
Microsoft, which has pitched in to try to identify and contain the breach reported this week that it had identified more than 40 government agencies, think tanks, nongovernmental organizations and IT companies infiltrated by the hackers, as the AP reported.
Most of the hacking victims were in the United States but there were also successful attacks in Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
President Trump must respond, vocally to this attack. The administration must be stern and to the point and it must be made clear to Russia that the United States will not tolerate this.
Incoming President-elect Joe Biden struck the right tone in his official response this week.
“We need to disrupt and deter our adversaries from undertaking significant cyberattacks in the first place,” Biden said. “We will do that by, among other things, imposing substantial costs on those responsible for such malicious attacks, including in coordination with our allies and partners.”
Early in his administration, Trump hit Russia with numerous sanctions after the infamous election meddling of 2016. Later he attacked and killed Russian mercenaries in Syria and sold sophisticated weapons to Ukraine as a deterrent to Russian aggression.
If similar measures or actions are on the table, as well as our own offensive cyber capabilities it would be appropriate to employ them. It may be that timing of the retaliatory measures would be best suited for the Biden administration but either way, we need a response from the current president ASAP.

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