It seems that we are getting more and more information on the full extent of the influence of Russian hackers on the 2016 Presidential election. Although the efforts by Russian state-funded entities largely went unnoticed and undiscussed for months, it is becomingly increasingly apparent that they were part of a pre-calculated effort to influence our democratic process. As part of the infiltration, hackers gained access to the Democratic National Committee servers and leaked emails showing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign. Some officials from the democrat nominee’s campaign claim that the election results were significantly impacted as a result. However, these statements are very difficult to prove, especially considering the other scandals which plagued both candidates throughout their campaigns.
The issue also raises questions regarding the efficacy of the governments processes in preventing such attacks. The whole situation was riddled with “missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.” For example, one FBI agent detected the intrusion on the DNC early on, but his call to their offices resulted in him getting forwarded to a help desk, and the issue was effectively lost in red tape. The White House likewise failed to respond with adequate force and speed to Russia’s cyber-advances. The result was the hackers’ ability to scour DNC email servers for about seven months without any intervention.
How should the U.S. have handled this situation differently? How should we handle it now? What does this mean for our relationship with Russia? What does this mean for our election results? What affect will this have on the confidence of the American people in our government and president?