Obama makes disguised threat to Russia on cyber warfare
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou on September 5, 2016. (AFP)
President Barack Obama has warned Russia that the United States has “more capacity than anybody” when it comes to cyber warfare, saying hack attacks can not become “wild, wild, West.”
Obama made the remarks to reporters following the G20 conference in Hangzhou, China. The issue of Russian hackers being implicated in breaching US cyberspace was a key issue at the summit.
Though Obama didn’t identify specific instances, he said, “We have had problems with cyber intrusions from Russia in the past” and that the goal is to not to duplicate a “cycle of escalation” that has occurred in arms races of the past.
“What we cannot do is have a situation where this becomes the wild, wild West, where countries that have significant cyber capacity start engaging in unhealthy competition or conflict through these means,” the president said.
Making a subtle threat to Russia, Obama added, “Look, we’re moving into a new era here where a number of countries have significant capacities. And frankly we’ve got more capacity than anybody, both offensively and defensively.”
US officials have blamed Russia for the recent hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) servers, and law enforcement and intelligence agencies are reportedly concerned about the Kremlin trying to disrupt or undermine the presidential elections.
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has in the past rejected claims that Moscow was behind a recent hack of DNC servers.
In July, the WikiLeaks website released about 20,000 emails from the DNC, which showed that party leaders had purportedly sought to undermine the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.
The revelation prompted DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce her resignation.
The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton alleged that Russia had released the emails to influence the November presidential election.
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