US may use sanctions to punish Russia for election hacking

A Republican lawmaker will propose legislation to go after the country's cyber criminals

The U.S. response to election-related hacks that the Obama administration now blames on the Russian government could include sanctions against that country.

The administration has said that it has a range of options, including economic sanctions, to respond to Russian cyber attacks. On Friday, a Republican lawmaker said he would propose legislation to move those sanctions forward.

Senator Cory Gardner, who represents Colorado, said his planned legislation would mandate that the U.S. government investigate Russian cyber criminals and sanction them when appropriate.

"Russia’s interference with American democracy is a direct threat to our political process," Gardner said in a statement.

Gardner's comments came after U.S. intelligence agencies pointed a finger at Russia for recent cyber attacks in which sensitive emails from U.S. officials and institutions were leaked. Russia initiated those attacks in an attempt to tamper with this year's U.S. presidential election, the agencies said.

Gardner's legislation would be similar to measures the U.S. took early last year to punish North Korea for its alleged hack of Sony Pictures. Sanctions were placed against 10 North Koreans and three groups in the country, denying them access to the U.S. financial system.

The Obama Administration still hasn't said it will take any action against Russia. But in July, the White House suggested that sanctions could be a way for the U.S. to respond.

"We have a full range of options available to us in the government," said White House press secretary Eric Schultz at the time. "That includes economic sanctions out of Department of Treasury."

Schultz said the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Justice also could take action.

However, Chase Cunningham, director of cyber operations at security provider A10 Networks, doubts that the U.S. will respond in any meaningful way.

Although U.S. intelligence agencies have publicly blamed Russia for the election-related hacks, Friday's statement was made late in the afternoon, when people would be preparing for the weekend and might not be paying attention. That suggests the U.S. government wanted to downplay the allegations, he said.

"We have an election going on, and a president almost out of office," Cunningham said. "Nothing is going to happen. People will point fingers, but that won't really change anything."

However, it's rare for the U.S. to blame Russia for cyber attacks. Friday's statement came from an investigation done by the U.S. Intelligence Community, a group that includes 16 different government agencies including the CIA and FBI.

"When you have multiple agencies agree on something, you can take it to bank that this was thoroughly investigated," Cunningham said.

In the meantime, Cunningham expects more election-related hacks during the remaining weeks until the Nov. 8 vote. The U.S. intelligence agencies allege that sites including WikiLeaks are being used by the Russian government to leak sensitive files on U.S. officials and political groups.

On Friday, WikiLeaks released emails that allegedly were taken from a Hillary Clinton aide.

The Russian government has repeatedly denied any involvement in the hacks.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmenthacking

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Bitdefender’s best-in-class security solutions have been awarded Product of the Year. Get cybersecurity that 500 MILLION users already have and trust!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?