By Robert Hackett
June 17, 2017

Cyber dangers arise everywhere, yet the most fearsome come from Russia. This week, two news items drove that point home.

The first, described in a Bloomberg report, showed just how pervasively Russia meddled in the U.S. electoral system: Hackers hit voting systems in 39 states, leading President Obama to take the unprecedented step of picking a modern day “red phone” to confront the Kremlin. One official said the only reason the Russians didn’t alter election results is because they didn’t have time to master (and mess with) the disparate voting systems. But next time, they could be in position to change some vote tallies unless the U.S. figures this out.

The second piece of Russia news is even more chilling. A BuzzFeed investigation titled “From Russia, With Blood” reports the Kremlin has murdered 14 people on British soil—including U.K. citizens—but MI6 and other law enforcement agencies refuse to act, preferring to pretend the deaths are suicide. Fear of cyber strikes are one big reason for this:

“[T]he Kremlin could inflict massive harm on Britain by unleashing cyberattacks, destabilising the economy, or mobilising elements of Britain’s large Russian population to “cause disruption,” a national security adviser told BuzzFeed, explaining the U.K.’s failure to act.

The story of Russians murdering people in London is not just about cybersecurity, of course. But it does reinforce how compromised computers are on the front line of geopolitics these days. Russia’s power over digital infrastructure in the U.S. and Britain is both a technical and a military problem—one that touches every single bureaucrat and politician, whether they acknowledge it or not.

Serious thoughts, I know. But please read on for more uplifting cyber stories, including a great one about girl scouts. Thanks as always for reading—and don’t forget to join us in Aspen for some great cyber discussions at Brainstorm Tech in four weeks time.

Jeff John Roberts


Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. You may reach Robert Hackett via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my, PGP encrypted email (see public key on my, Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.


You May Like