On Thursday, an announcement from the United States' National Security Agency has openly accused the Russian government of having hackers infiltrate email servers all around the world.
The statement suggests the increasing aggression that the US government has taken against the Kremlin as the presidential elections come closer.
According to The New York Times, Trump and his administration have previously tied Russia to cyberattacks including the 2016 election hack and in 2017, disabling Ukraine, causing severe damage to Maersk and FedEx operations.
The recent allegations have been unusually explicit with their accusations of Russia, singling the country's military intelligence unit, the GRU. The focus on the agency reveals the concern of intelligence agencies of Russia's alleged plans in interfering with the upcoming elections.
The claims also come at a time when Trump has remade his accusations that the investigation looking into the Kremlin's activities was a ruse by Democrats that planned to sabotage him.
The US president had openly criticized Russia's accountability in the hacking of the elections and suggested that he agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin's claim that his country had advanced technology in cyber operations it would have avoided detection.
The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, said that the caution in calling out Russia for its actions had been mostly due to echoes of investigations. Dempsey added that for the NSA to accuse Russia, the agency must have concrete evidence.
Russian military threat actors called the "Sandworm Team", the NSA says, had been exploiting a crucial weakness in the Exim mail transfer agent (MTA) starting from August 2019, as reported by Data Breaches.
The hole in the software allowed the hackers to utilize commands and produce their own code on compromised networks, said one NSA official. The agency considered the incident any hacker's dream access.
The Russian embassy located in Washington, however, did not reply to a request for comments on the incident.
Threats of counterattacks
The NSA, along with its sister agency, the United States Cyber Command, have ramped up efforts to identify and prevent interference from Russia since before the 2018 midterm elections.
The agencies have previously removed internet networks that were used to spread messages meant to divide. They have also cautioned of the increasing number of troll farms that aim to spread misinformation and several other operations that have not been revealed to the public.
The agencies also attempted to place malware in the electrical grid of the Russian nation to warn the country of the countermeasures that the United States is willing to take if Moscow continued its assault on the American grid.
America's retaliation against Russia seemed to have modest effects as the GRU continued its malicious attacks, even after the NSA pressured the Kremlin of its potential counterattacks.
On Thursday at a Cato Institute event, a lecturer at the US Naval Postgraduate School, Scott Jasper, the author of a new publication titled "Russian Cyber Operations," said that the actions Russia had taken implied that America's pressure on the Kremlin have not made their mark.