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This paper primarily addresses the reasoning behind the 2016 cyber-attack orchestrated by the Russian Government against the United States. The primary question behind this paper is why did hackers operating on behalf of the Russian government decide to commit to an espionage-style attack to steal emails and documents during the 2016 election? This is important due to the danger that these cyber-attacks pose to the United States already tense political environment and integrity of the country’s election systems as well as the democracy of other states. There is a real danger of the country’s democratic functions being impeded due to the presence of foreign vested interests in the outcome of our elections. Major research has shown that there are marked deficiencies within the United States cyber defense infrastructure and a significant vested interest by the Russian government in seeing this attack carried out. This paper argues that the failure of the federal and state governments to improve and centralize their cyber security defenses is a major part of the reasoning behind why Russia conducted the attacks.



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