Hackers seemed to be running wild in 2016, from the leaking of the Panama Papers to the compromising of more than 1 billion Yahoo accounts, it wasn’t a good year for digital security. But, of course, the biggest cybersecurity story of the year very well may be the influence of Russian hacking on the United States presidential election – which U.S. intelligence agencies concluded were aimed at helping Donald Trump win – and its threat to undermine the foundations of American democracy. Lily Hay Newman, a security writer for WIRED, said Russia’s success in hacking the Democratic National Committee – which she described as a highly unsophisticated hack – and proliferating fake news to misinform voters may embolden its cadre of digital intruders to expand their reach. “Expect them to replicate their influence operations ahead of elections next year in Germany, the Netherlands and France, and potentially to even try new tricks like data sabotage or attacks on physical infrastructure,” Newman wrote.
On Tuesday, French officials warned Moscow not to interfere in its upcoming presidential election, and alleged that one tough-on-Russia candidate rising in the polls may be the victim of a disinformation and hacking campaign.
Part of the problem with the Russian hacks is that there’s no Geneva Convention for cyber warfare, Newman said.
“We don’t have a plan for the rules of conduct or how countries can appropriately react, or defend themselves, or just seek some kind of accord with other countries for how to handle these situations,” she said.