UPDATED 12:58 PM PT — Monday, June 17, 2019
The New York Times recently reported the U.S. allegedly penetrated key power grids in Russia in an attempt to prevent disinformation campaigns targeting U.S. elections. According to the report, U.S. officials hacked into Russia’s electrical systems and placed harmful malware to be activated at a later time. The computer virus was allegedly created to send a message to Moscow to not interfere in U.S. elections.
The Kremlin is now speaking out on on the report and is not denying the allegations. On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, based on the Times report, a cyber war is a possibility. He added, Russia had been affected by online foreign actors in the past, and the Russian federation is constantly working to keep the economy and sensitive parts of the country safe.
Back in January, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the U.S. was increasing cyber pressure on Russia as disinformation campaigns escalated during the 2018 midterm elections.
“And there were a number of success stories, only some of which we could really ever share, where the social media companies, based on tips that we provided, were able to take action much more effectively, much more quickly to block and prevent some of the information warfare that the Russians were engaged in,” he stated. “And I think we’re gonna need to see more and more of that, but now that we’ve got some momentum, we’re looking forward to growing that partnership.”
The Times report said the malware was implanted back in 2012, but have only now shifted commands to go on the offensive. It also said U.S. officials have avoided briefing President Trump on the matter over fears he may stop the operations.
The president tweeted about the report over the weekend, calling it fake news. He said not only is the report factually incorrect, it amounts to a virtual act of treason by what he called “a once great paper.” President Trump said the publication is now made up of cowards, who are without a doubt “the enemy of the people.” He claimed the Times is so desperate for a story, they will do whatever it takes without thinking of the consequences — even if they are bad for the country.