In the lead up to the mid-term elections next month the U.S. Cyber Command has launched its first ever offensive operation against individual Russians attempting to interfere.
The New York Times made the initial report on the operation, and had few details as to what the action included, but indicated the suspected election operatives would receive a warning that the U.S. knows about and is tracking their activity. No direct threats are made against those contacted, but the Times quoted Defense Department officials saying anyone who finds themselves in these crosshairs knows they could be sanctioned in some manner.
No indication was given on how many people have been contacted.
The hope is the mere threat will be enough to deter anyone from conducting misinformation campaigns or other types of interference. The level of force against anyone so caught is being kept intentionally low, the Times reported, in order not to incur an overly aggressive response from Russia.
The U.S. government and individual states are going to great lengths to ensure the cyber safety and validity of the upcoming election with states receiving millions in federal funds to shore up their defenses. Additionally, the states are implementing everything from pre- and post-election audits to coming up with backup plans in case their voting machines go offline on Election Day.