The United States Cyber Command has started an operation that involves contacting Russians to prevent them from meddling in the upcoming midterm election.
The targeted Russians are being told that they have been identified and the US military have been tracking their activities to prevent them from disrupting the American electoral process.
The defense officials, who provided information about the current operation, however, did not provide details about how the Cyber Command contacts the Russians. They did not also disclose the number of individuals the operation has targeted.
This is the first operation under a new presidential order that relaxes restrictions on offensive cyberspace actions against foreign networks. The campaign, first reported by the New York Times, is also the first known overseas cyber operation aimed at protecting the US elections from Russian interference.
“The US government leadership has made it clear that it will not accept any foreign interference or attempts to undermine or manipulate our elections in any way,” Cybercom spokesman Joseph Holstead said, according to CNBC. “This includes the whole-of-government effort to protect election infrastructure and prevent malign, covert election influence operations.”
The operation seeks to deter disinformation efforts but it is not yet clear if it is also aimed at more overt forms of cybercrimes such as hacking.
During the 2016 presidential election, the Russians were accused of employing several tactics, which include using fake accounts to post provocative posts on social media and hacking into the servers of the Democratic National Committee.
The US government has launched a campaign to protect the midterm elections which has so far led to last week’s indictment of Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova.
As the Inquisitr earlier reported, Khusyaynova served as chief accountant for a disruption campaign funded by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s close associate businessman Yevgeniy Viktorovich. Khusyaynova became the first person to be charged by the United States for conspiring to interfere in the midterm elections.
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said that he told Moscow officials that he considered Russian meddling in the American election process as “intolerable.”
“It’s a major obstacle to achieving agreement on issues where our national interest may converge,” Bolton said, according to The Guardian. “So I said, just from a very cold-blooded cost benefit ratio, that you shouldn’t meddle in our elections because you’re not advancing Russian interest, and I hope that was persuasive to them.”