Welcome to World War III.
It may not feel or look like we’re currently at war. Massive aerial webs of bombers aren’t descending from the skies and tanks aren’t rolling through the streets, but we’re most definitely at war.
This war is already over two years old. It’s being waged, not by soldiers on the battlefield, but by men and woman behind closed doors, wielding millions upon millions of ones and zeros.
The Trump administration acknowledged yesterday, for the first time, what the FBI and intelligence community have been talking about now for over a year. Trump hit the Russians with a whole new round of sanctions, targeting 19 individuals and five entities, which included two of it’s most powerful intelligence agencies.
The Trump administration fingered the Russians for meddling in the election, cyber attacks and --- most recently --- using a chemical weapon on UK soil.
Trump is sending a clear message.
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said this response wasn’t the end, and that additional sanctions would be coming soon. He specifically mentioned additional Russian government officials, but also --- and this one is the most important --- multiple Russian oligarchs would be sanctioned.
The oligarchs hold the key to Putin’s power. Losing them is his nightmare scenario. By threatening Russia’s oligarchs, Trump is sending a clear message: “We know how to hurt you, and we’re prepared to pull the trigger.”
All this is shocking for multiple reasons. For one, I didn’t think we’d ever actually hear the Trump administration admit Russia interfered in the election, but they finally have. This is huge. But the second thing is probably the biggest.
We now know that Russia has fired the first shots in a cyber campaign that is FAR more extensive than we ever knew. As per the Department of Homeland Security, this operation --- which began in March 2016 --- has been attacking and penetrating “multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors.”
Will we hit them back?
Cyber weapons are the NEW first strike weapon. We now know that the Russians have deployed them against us, and the question now is, will we hit them back?
In the words of the immortal warrior, sage and prophet Yoda, “Begun the cyber war has.”