U.S. intelligence officials have identified four major cyber adversaries targeting American businesses and infrastructure, from China and North Korea to Iran. Only Russia has yet to be publicly blamed by the Obama administration in a strategy that national security experts have dubbed “naming and shaming,” reports NPR. After senior Democrats in Congress pointed the finger at Russia for hacking into the Democratic National Committee and trying to infiltrate the voter registration systems in nearly two dozen states, that may be about to change. “I would just say to any of those out there considering whether or not to try to harm the United States through cyber means, we have a message, which is: we can figure out who did it, and when we do, we’re not afraid to impose consequences, and we will,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General John Carlin tells NPR. “We would take very very seriously an attempt to undermine the integrity of our democracy.”
Carlin leaves the Justice Department next week, after 17 years as a career prosecutor. Over the past three years in his leadership post, he said, the threat has changed. When it comes to cyber intrusions, authorities have gotten better at finding out who’s behind keyboards, even thousands of miles away. In the past year, the Justice Department also has prosecuted 60 people with ties to foreign fighters or home grown extremism. Most of those people radicalized online and never met an al-Qaida or Islamic State figure in person. Those cases are spread across 35 states, with defendants in one-third of the cases aged 21 or younger.