Lawmakers pressed President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the National Security Agency over the government’s failure to deter Russian cyber aggression Thursday at the same time the Treasury Department imposed the broadest sanctions to date against Russian government hackers.The timing underscored two points made frequently by government cyber officials and by their critics outside government. First, the best response to a cyber strike often isn’t a cyber counterstrike. Second, those non-cyber responses, though they keep piling up, still aren’t doing the trick.Thursday’s sanctions target five Russian entities, including intelligence services and social troll creator, the Internet Research Agency, as well as 19 individuals, many of whom were previously indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.The sanctions respond both to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and to global cyber mischief such as the NotPetya ransomware attack, which locked computers around the world last year.The Treasury Department notice also cited Russian efforts to burrow into government and critical industry computer systems, including in the energy, nuclear, aviation and manufacturing sectors. Those efforts were detailed in a separate joint technical alert from the Homeland Security Department and the FBI.
NSA Pick Will Develop Cyber Retaliation Plans But Don’t Expect Government to Use Them