The Obama Administration’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, claimed that, while Russia and China grow "more assertive and sophisticated" online, it is Iranian operatives who have used hacks to create kinetic effects, attacking American banks and hydroelectric facilities.
Monaco also warned about a growing online danger from non-state actors, including Daesh, as well as “hacktivists” like Anonymous, whose online capabilities often rival that of government actors.
"To put it bluntly, we are in the midst of a revolution of the cyber threat – one that is growing more persistent, more diverse, more frequent and more dangerous every day," said Monaco at a cybersecurity conference in New York. "Unless we act together – government, industry, and citizens – we risk a world where malicious cyber activity could threaten our security and prosperity. This is not a future we should accept."
The Obama Administration has rolled out a color-coded alert system, with a high-level federal response activated in the event of a threat or attack above the third level, orange, indicating that a substantial threat to public health or safety, economic or national security or other US interests, is possible.
The highest level under the directive, code black, is reserved for an emergency that poses an "imminent threat" to critical infrastructure, government stability or presents the possibility of mass casualties.
The accusations come amid a growing focus on cyber threats surrounding two separate email scandals implicating former Secretary of State and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton – the most recent of which were revelations exposing coordination between the Secretary’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the mainstream corporate media outlets which Hillary’s campaign has tried to dispel as the workings of Russia to benefit Donald Trump.
The US government has not formally accused Russia of involvement in the hacking attempt or alleged tampering of the American election and Moscow has condemned the claims calling them "paranoid" conspiracy theories.