The head of the NSA (National Security Agency) just announced that a foreign nation-state (presumably Russia) consciously targeted presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in order to affect the US election:
There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s minds, this was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.
This is cyber warfare, and I’m not sure what can be done to defend against it. In an era where voters are strongly influenced by political information exchanged through social media, with little or no fact checking, there may not be any way to stop a bad actor from throwing an election, with potentially disastrous results.
How many “Manchurian Social Networks” exist already? Given how easy it is to create and spread disinformation, it is guaranteed that this situation will just get worse as more countries and special interests will pour money and effort into cyber warfare activities.
After all, conventional warfare is way more expensive and dangerous. Why do that when you can achieve the same ends more cheaply and easily by getting people elected who will do your bidding?
Also published on Medium.