Russia plans on targeting the US presidential election in November using the same malicious cyber tactics it applied in 2019 when attempting to domineer all 50 states’ election systems, a security report is warning.
Don’t be surprised if the Russian government also homes in on the Georgian parliamentary elections in October, the report assessing the security situation in the Baltic region has advised.
Its release comes as Bernie Sanders gains momentum in his bid to become the next Democrat to take on President Donald Trump.
Mr Sanders narrowly won New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary, solidifying his front-runner status in the nominating race and dealing a blow to moderate rival and former vice president Joe Biden who came in fifth.
The 78-year-old prevailed after fending off attacks from rivals who warned his far-left views would lead the party to defeat in the November 3 election.
“This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump,” Mr Sanders told supporters.
Not if Russia has its way. President Vladimir Putin set out to interfere in the 2016 US election to make Mr Trump commander-in-chief.
Helping Russia-friendly candidates and divisive nominees win Western elections is one of its major goals, along with showing America to be incapable of holding fair elections as a way of diverting attention away from its own problems.
That’s according to the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service report which was released on Thursday morning. The research, headed by the service’s Director General Mikk Marran, says Russia has been successfully messing with Western democracies since the 1990s and it will “likely” do it again this year.
The West has yet to use enough sanctions to force Russia to abandon its cyber operations which aim to “steal sensitive information on what political positions countries hold”, the report said.
Not only that but it looks out for details on “which countries can be influenced in directions suitable for Russia, as well as how and whom to target with their narratives in information operations”.
The government was its primary target in 2019 followed by elections, the military, think tanks and scientific institutions, then the media.
The report, however, warned that “everyone is a potential target” as cyber attackers go after the weakest links to achieve their goals.