We need a better cyber war policy — later

It is quite possible — and highly likely in my opinion — that the DNC was attacked by the Russian government. Many  Internet security researchers agree. Dave Aitel, CEO of Immunity Inc., even goes so far as to use it as an example of cyber war. He indicates in a guest editorial on Ars Technica that the United States should respond.

The US government has a decision to make here. If it does not come out strongly against this action by the Russian intelligence services now, then when will it? How is our election system not to be considered “critical infrastructure” that foreign governments are forbidden to interfere with, unless they wish to trigger a serious confrontation with the US? If hacking a presidential campaign and dumping its strategy on the Web is not interference and disruption of a critical institution, then what is? Should we wait until foreign operatives interfere with the primary process? Is the red line only to be drawn around hacking actual voting machines and changing the results?

I tentatively agree with his point, but the timing is all wrong. Anything that the United States does now only serves to enhance the damage that was done by the hack. Any overt move by the government will be seen as the Democrats trying to protect their own and alter the natural outcome of the election.

We simply can’t do anything about it now except continue to play defense.

The next President will be able to do something about it. A new policy put forth by Republicans — or a bipartisan policy — would be the best solution, but as long as Donald Trump is the one to reap the rewards of the hack, it is unlikely there will be a call for any immediate new policies from the right.

The reason why it worked

While we are discussing new policy, let’s not forget that the reason why the attack actually worked was because there were things hidden in the DNC emails that many of us consider absolutely wrong.

The first attack (if they are connected) that just released all the opposition research that the Clinton campaign had wasn’t seen as much of a problem by the American public. And it is that kind of attack that we need to guard against most. That was an attack that could have altered the course of the Presidential election. That was the kind of attack that, in a different form, brought down the Nixon Whitehouse.

While the DNC emails were in the same realm as the previous attack, they showed a different problem that needs to be corrected. The cyber attack against the DNC was horrible, but it also shed light on practices that should have no part in politics. Anyone that can find a balance between that cyber attack and a solution to preventing corruption from growing in the dark corners of political parties deserves to be President.