The head of the NSA has made it plain that the US election was targeted by nation state attackers with the specific intention of influencing the vote.
NSA director Michael Rogers said at a Wall Street Journal event on Tuesday that there is no question someone had tried to influence the election.
"There shouldn't be any doubt in anybody's mind. 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,” he said.
“This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
Rogers stopped short of mentioning the country behind the attacks, although it is widely thought to be Russia after it hacked the Democratic Party and passed information to WikiLeaks which subsequently leaked it during the course of the election.
The election even saw president-elect Donald Trump urge Russian hackers to go after Hiliary Clinton to find more information on her, although it is unclear whether that call led to any more hacking, as the initial breach occurred earlier in the year.
Nevertheless, Rogers' comments raise the disturbing likelihood that the Russian hacking efforts proved so successful that organisations like the NSA, CIA and FBI are now under the command of a man that Russia wanted to win the election.
There has been no shortage of coverage of Trump and Putin’s warmth towards one another, although much of that may be down to the latter knowing that Trump will be an easier adversary on the global stage.
Rogers said at the WSJ event that the NSA is doing what it can to stem the tide against hackers, although his comments amounted to little more than a checklist of obvious actions.
“We are trying to make life harder for hackers. We’re trying to harden systems, we’re trying to increase the level of knowledge, increase the capabilities in the private sector and the government,” he said.
“We’re trying to deal directly with a host of nation states around the world and engaging with them on what’s acceptable from our perspective and what’s not.”
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