Russia, we are told, breached the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), swiped emails and other documents, and released them to the public, to alter the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
How substantial is the evidence backing these assertions?
The cyberattack on Sony Pictures unleashed a torrent of alarmist media reports, evoking the image of North Korean perfidy. Within a month, the FBI issued a statement declaring the North Korean government “responsible for these actions.” Amid the media frenzy, several senators and congresspersons called for tough action. Arizona Senator John McCain blustered, “It’s a new form of warfare that we’re involved in, and we need to react and react vigorously.” President Barack Obama announced his administration planned to review the possibility of placing North Korea on the list of states sponsoring terrorism, a move that would further tighten the already harsh sanctions on North Korea. “They caused a lot of damage, and we will respond,” Obama warned darkly. “We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.”
In the rush to judgment, few were asking for evidence, and none was provided. Computer security analysts, however, were vocal in their skepticism.