Blaming Russia for Hacking Lets Faulty U.S. Cybersecurity Off Hook, by Finian Cunningham

Don’t we all wish we had somebody or something we could blame for our mistakes and divert attention from our own faults? From Finian Cunningham at

laming Russia for cyberattacks is not only a misdirection of the Western cybersecurity problems from its own commercial negligence. It is also risking setting up a catastrophic conflict based on disinformation.

Cyberattacks on American and European industries and government departments are increasingly reported, representing massive financial losses for victims who pay out hefty ransoms to avert damage. It has become fashionable in Western media to blame Russian state actors or criminal cyber gangs based in Russia.

NATO leaders this week fingered Russia for the upsurge in ransomware attacks, either through malign state agents or from turning a blind eye to organized crime. There is no evidence to support such claims against Russia but of course, they play into Western media narratives that have sought to demonize Russia over a range of other malign conduct.

There is, however, a cogent explanation for why there appears to be a recent spike in computer hacking in the United States and other Western countries, and why the blame is being pushed so intensely onto Russia.

Randy Martin, a U.S.-based political analyst who also worked for years in developing computer security systems, says that American companies are wide open to criminal attacks because the software industry there is “such a dismal failure”.

Unlike in many other countries, cybersecurity in the U.S. is commonly supplied by private firms that operate on a profit basis. That goes for government departments such as health and education, as well as for key utilities of power, water and fuel. Martin says that these companies have cut back on developing robust cybersecurity over several years in order to reduce costs and boost profits. The upshot is that industries and government departments are left acutely vulnerable to bad actors who can exploit the weaknesses with ransomware attacks.

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