U.S. government hackers at the National Security Agency are likely targeting Russian government-linked hacking teams to see once and for all if they’re responsible for the massive breach at the Democratic National Committee.
Hackers working for the NSA are believed to be attacking Russian government computer networks as part of the government’s “hack back” policy, which allows for retaliation in the event that a foreign nation is implicated in an attack on “US interests,” in this case centering on claims of Russia being behind hacking of DNC computers.
NSA officials declined to confirm such attacks are underway, but Robert Joyce, chief of the Tailored Access Operations, did confirm that the agency had “technical capabilities and legal authorities” to conduct such operations if they were of a mind to do so.
Russia’s FSB has reported a considerable spyware-centric attack, saying some 20 computer networks of the Russian government and associates, including defense companies, have been under an intense and coordinated attack in recent days. The Russians did not publicly accuse the US of being behind them, however.
Former White House Director for Cybersecurity Policy Chris Finan was harshly critical of plans to launch attacks on Russia over the DNC hacks in recent days, saying that attribution of the hacks to Russia was little more than a “guess,” and that “idiots” in the administration were advocating revenge attacks without considering the wisdom of doing so.