This week more than 40,000 security professionals will attend RSA in San Francisco to see the latest cyber technologies on display and discuss key issues. No topic will be higher on the agenda than the Russian-sponsored hack of the American 2016 election, with debate about why the country has done so little to respond and what measures should be taken to deter future attempts at subverting our democracy.
For good reason. There is now clear evidence of Russian interference in the election with Special Counsel Mueller’s 37-page indictment of 13 Russians, yet the attack on U.S. sovereignty and stability has gone largely unanswered. The $120 million set aside by Congress to address the Russian attacks remains unspent. We expelled Russian diplomats, but only under international pressure after the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter.
Recent sanctions are unlikely to change the behavior of the Putin administration. To put it bluntly, we have done nothing of substance to address our vulnerability to foreign cyberattacks. Meanwhile, our enemies gain in technological capability, sophistication and impact.
Along with the Russians, the Chinese, North Koreans, Iranians and newly derived nation states use cyber techniques on a daily basis to further their efforts to gain advantage on the geopolitical stage. It is a conscious decision by these governments that a proactive cyber program advances their goals while limiting the United States.