National: Senator: On Cyberwarfare, Russia Has The U.S. “Behind The Eight Ball” | Fast Company

The Russians have punched far beyond their weight when it comes to cyberwarfare, a prominent U.S. Senator said Saturday, and America isn’t keeping up. Speaking at the SXSW conference in Austin, Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, noted that Vladimir Putin’s government got “great bang for their dollars, or bang for their rubles” by exploiting vulnerabilities on social media during the 2016 presidential elections, and that it may be time for the U.S. to rethink its military budget. “I come from one of the most pro-defense states,” Warner said, “but if you look at what we’re spending [on the military], $700 billion, the Russians are spending $68 billion.” Warner said that Putin’s government has acknowledged that it can’t keep up with us militarily. But he added that it has managed to use cyberwarfare to sow divisiveness in the U.S. by using sophisticated techniques to spread disinformation. It uses small, targeted election advertising buys, and leaves the kind of obvious fingerprints on state election systems that could have been used to defend President Trump’s original claims that the 2016 election was “rigged.”

Warner began his talk by stating forcefully that Russia had intervened in America’s 2016 elections; that the country had tried to “rattle the doors” of 21 states’ election systems; and that the way Russia exploited platforms like Facebook and Twitter showed “the dark underbelly of social media.”

As giant tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google become more mature, Warner argued, they may someday need to face legal liability for the kind of content that crosses their platforms–much like automakers were eventually held responsible for their products. “I think we’re going to have to have that kind of debate,” Warner said. “What responsibility do the content companies have for the content that passes over them?”

Full Article: Senator: On Cyberwarfare, Russia Has The U.S. “Behind The Eight Ball”.

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