During and after the 2016 US elections allegations came up about Russia’s interference in the election process. The presidential elections gripped Washington, and multiple investigations kicked off into President Donald Trump’s campaign. In the process of the investigations different concerns about the security of the electoral process and some fears that rival power could have influenced the results of the elections started coming up. The US retaliation against Russia was vivid in the sense that authorities swung into action to counter the claims of the attacks which were regarded as cyber attack crime. The investigations have prompted some officials and other former campaign advisors to plead guilty to having lied to the federal agents about communications between them and some Russian nationals. This paper will seek to review the cyber ethics and moral issues which revolved around the incident of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US elections and the consequent retaliation by the US.
Russia’s campaign which targeted the US elections revealed the extent to which the communications and information are being used through cybercrime. Technologies are being exploited to undermine most democratic processes, and these activities also weaken protective measure against cybercrime. The US was indeed caught off guard effectively. This indicated a rising threat that is seen currently affecting the global community. Comprehensive and swift strategies need to be put into place as part of a long-term solution to the issue of cyber attacks. Best practices should be shared and lessons learned between nations which have better security on the issue of cyber attack. In reaction to the disruptive campaigns by Russia, the US government has taken some steps after the elections in order to protect against cyber attacks and campaigns that seem to misinform the public. Unsurprisingly, examination of these efforts against cyber attacks has shown the importance of authorities identifying the risks at the regional, local, and national levels and engaging in social media outlets and political parties. These lessons could possibly provide a basis for an analytical framework with which to assess different angles of risk and therefore guide nations’ preparatory actions.
The FBI, CIA and the National Security Agency together stated that the Russian government swiftly conducted a campaign which influenced the elections of 2016. It was also stated that the Russian President ordered the effort, with the aim of damaging Hillary Clinton’s campaign and in the process undermining the democratic process. Though Russia denied these accusations, some evidence was put across by the investigative agencies which gave proof that the cyberspace was used to perpetuate the act. The intelligence community’s assessment was discounted by President Trump’s team. He later agreed that the hacking was done by the Russian authorities and that it was normal to be hacked by any country in the world. This brings across the topic of morals and ethics within the cyberspace in which there is freedom within the cyber community, and some of the activities that take place within the cyberspace cannot be investigated to the core. Richard states that many governments get threatened by other nations of power, and they impose controls on them without being helped by other countries because the cyberspace and its stakeholders have steadfastly resisted controls over who should govern who. The control of technology through regulations and laws has always been a futile effort; thus, it is impossible for the cyberspace morals to be guided with specific guidelines.
The US retaliation measures towards the attacks experienced did not make a big difference against the process of preventing cyber attacks. The efforts of the Russia government involved overt activities by their authorities which involved paid internet trolls, state-backed media, and other covert operations. These operations included illicit cyber activities which were conducted by the intelligence agencies. During this process, the Russian media portrayed Hillary Clinton with a lot of negativity towards the run-up to the election. They also focused on her leaked emails and consistently accused her of poor mental and physical health, corruption and ties to the Islamic extremists. Russia also took their influence a step further to influence the campaign on social media channels. The media channels included Twitter, Youtube and Facebook. A Russian entity which had links with Internet Research Agency (IRA) was reported to have hired “trolls” which posted false news and other socially divisive news on these platforms. Facebook claimed that the Internet Research Agency posted content which reached millions of its users. This process indicated that the media platforms were abuse in the process to perpetuate the act of disintegrating the integrity of the elections. it was also reported that some individuals with links to the IRA waged a resourced campaign which was termed as “information warfare” against the US. The Russian defendants also were running social media accounts and bought advertisements which rallied towards the disintegration of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. This conspiracy was part of a broad campaign which was known as Lakhta which targeted the audiences in Russia and the world in general.