US President Barack Obama said the country will not hesitate to flex cyber muscle should attacks against its government and other institutions persist during the sidelines of the G20 Summit in China.
Among others, the Democratic Party was subjected to an embarrassing cyber-attack, which is currently under investigation. Russia is said to be behind the attacks.
“Frankly we have got more capacity than anybody both offensively and defensively,” he said in a veiled warning to the Russians.
Further, Obama said the US does not want to duplicate a “cycle of escalation” in cyberspace, which is akin to past arms races where opposing parties tried to outdo each other by amassing more advanced weapons with each upgrade of their opponent. Rather, he said, the country wants to lead in “instituting some norms” that will compel countries to act responsibly in cyberspace.
The President added that there are enough problems in cyber space from “non-state actors” who use computer systems for theft and other illegal activities, making it imperative for governments to cooperate in protecting critical infrastructure and securing financial systems.
"What we cannot do is have a situation in which, certainly, this becomes the wild, wild West, where countries that have significant cyber capacity start engaging in unhealthy competition or conflict through these means," Obama said.
He further reported that he has done the rounds of countries with the proposal to implement cybersecurity norms and he is seeing some acquiescence in the adoption of these rules, although it has yet to be seen if they will be followed.