Following a sideline meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Obama delivered a press conference centering on cyberwar, claiming that the United States has “more capacity than anybody, both offensively and defensively” in fighting such a war.
He demanded Russia “act responsibly” and warned against launching a “cyber arms race,” saying he didn’t want to see countries engaging in “unhealthy competition” on their capacities. While refusing to directly address the matter, it was clear these comments were related to Democratic Party allegations that Russia is attempting to hack the US election.
There are substantial ongoing investigations into this, and Obama insisted he didn’t want to comment while the investigations were still going. That’s a change, because during the DNC Obama said he thought it was possible Russia was hacking the Democrats to try to help Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Intelligence officials have conceded that despite the investigation, there is no solid proof of any Russia hacking attempts on the election process, or even evidence that Russia might have any intent to do so. Obama’s comments, while not directly addressing this, clearly are intended to keep the matter in the public eye, as indeed it’s become a centerpiece of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign to accuse Trump’s candidacy of being a Russian plot.
Though the US doubtless spends more money than any other nation on cyberwarfare, actual public cyberwars between nations have not been seen and it isn’t well understood how they would unfold, let alone whether the US investments really make them the strongest in such a battle.