U.S. military launched over 2 dozen cyber operations before 2020 election


The U.S. military conducted more than two dozen cyber operations before the 2020 election to prevent foreign threats from affecting the election, U.S. Cyber Command Commander Gen. Paul Nakasone told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Why it matters: Nakasone could not describe the nature of the operations in detail but said they were conducted “to get ahead of foreign threats before they interfered with or influenced our elections.”

Context: The disclosure of the operations comes a week after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an assessment on foreign actors’ campaigns to influence the election.

  • That appraisal found no indications that foreign actors attempted to alter any technical aspect of the U.S. voting process.

What they’re saying: U.S. Cyber Command in recent months attempted to mitigate the threat to federal systems from the SolarWinds breach by Russian-backed hackers that became public in December 2020, Nakasone added.

  • “To date, we have yet to identify any compromise of DoD information networks in the unclassified or classified domains,” he said, though the command is still monitoring for affected systems.
  • He described the SolarWinds Breach as “a scope, a scale, a level of sophistication that we haven’t seen previously.”

The big picture: President Biden last December promised to impose “substantial costs” on those responsible for the Solarwinds attack, though his administration has yet to describe how exactly it plans retaliate.

Go deeper: The long tail of the SolarWinds breach


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