Enlarge / Will Barack Obama order a major cyber-reprisal against Russia for election hacks before he leaves office? A CNN report suggests the response will be a softball. (credit: Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

According to a CNN report, officials within the Obama administration have said that retaliatory measures against Russia for interference in the US election will happen very soon—perhaps as early as today. But the response is expected to be "proportional" and include diplomatic measures and sanctions. It's not clear whether there will be any sort of response in kind against the Russian leadership's computer systems and data.

A proportional response, however, likely won't do anything to deter future efforts to use hacking and information campaigns to affect US politics or other aspects of government. That's according to Dave Aitel, the founder of the security firm Immunity and a former NSA research scientist. In a recent interview with Ars, Aitel said he believed that the US would take some sort of retaliatory action in the final weeks of Obama's presidency. "We're in a unique position where [President Barack] Obama can lay a haymaker down," he said, "and then Trump has to stand up. And Obama has nothing to restrain him."

Aitel predicted that the US response "will be big enough that it intimidates a nation-state. It's like we are the only nuclear power." And he said the US response needs to be substantial, because the methods used to hack the DNC and John Podesta and the related information operations used to disrupt the campaign of Hillary Clinton are within the skill set of a team of penetration testers or anyone else with a moderate amount of technical skill.

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