Russia has declared war against the United States. By attacking our government institutions and stealing our most guarded secrets, Russia’s cyberattack puts every American in danger.
Several months ago, Russian security agents planted a virus on a SolarWinds software update. Most U.S. government agencies use SolarWinds to protect their data. The virus enabled Russians to penetrate the back door of the U.S. Treasury Department, Homeland Security, State Department, Commerce Department, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Pentagon.
Cybersecurity experts believe Russia may now have the ability to shut down our power grid, disrupt our economy by deleting, for example, all social security payment records, and interfere with our defense systems by disconnecting communication on the battlefield.
Experts also believe that Russia may have obtained nuclear development and launch codes, COVID-19 vaccine data, and confidential national security information on leaders and governments worldwide.
Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora called the attack among the most dangerous breaches of American intelligence in history. It is a black swan event that jeopardizes every American’s safety.
In the face of this attack, Donald Trump remained silent for two weeks. He broke his silence yesterday by, of course, downplaying the significance of it and blaming China.
Trump’s reaction provides additional evidence that Russia compromises him. Even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that Russia committed the attack–the same Pompeo who has denied Biden won the election. Trump doesn’t want to discuss it because it’s more critical for him to fool his followers into believing that he kept the country secure than dealing with a severe threat to the nation’s security.
This cyberattack happened because Putin knew he could get away with it. He tested Trump in the past and confirmed he would not suffer consequences. Trump wouldn’t even hold Russia accountable for interfering with the 2016 election, siding with Putin over American intelligence agencies to protect the integrity of his victory. It should come as no surprise that Russia committed espionage and has had possession of critical data for months when the United States president is indebted to our enemy.
Putin pulled out all the stops to help Trump win because he knew Secretary Clinton was a hawk on Russia and would have retaliated. If Putin had tried this attack under a Clinton administration–which he probably would not have, the response would have been severe and immediate. Putin knows Trump is uninformed, lazy, and self-absorbed. He knew he could attack the U.S. without repercussions. Americans continue to pay an incalculable price for electing Trump and his Republican enablers.
Intelligence agencies are now determining the scope of the damage and how to decentralize security and move it to the cloud. These agencies should never have all been secured under one umbrella by SolarWinds. The United States needs to move its software protection to companies like Palo Alto, Zscaler, and CrowdStrike that offer cloud-based protection. This attack would likely not have happened if Trump and the Republicans didn’t refuse to update the government’s internal systems. Crowdstrike CEO Dmitri Alperovitch stated the only way to resolve this attack would be to burn everything to the ground and start from scratch with modern security infrastructure.
When President-elect Biden enters office, he will retaliate. The United States can’t allow its enemies to steal its most guarded information without a significant response. But this event must remind Americans never again to elect someone who always puts his self-interests ahead of the country.
Security experts stated the Russian attack poses a “grave risk” to American security. Intelligence officials have described Russia’s actions as a declaration of war. Trump’s silence and refusal to act is treasonous.