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The Daily Vertical: Watch This Cyberspace (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

The dogs are about to be let loose.

The floodgates are about to open.

It's about to be open season for Russia's hackers.

It remains unclear whether or not Russia's apparent cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee and subsequent data leaks influenced the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

But for the Kremlin, the apparent success of these tactics means they will likely be tried again elsewhere -- and probably fairly soon.

WATCH Today's Daily Vertical

Vladimir Putin's regime has been preparing for this moment for years.

According to a recent report in Meduza, the Kremlin has been "recruiting hackers and blackmailing criminals to do their bidding" for years.

They've been testing the limits of their cybercapabilities in Europe, with stealthy attacks on things like the Polish stock exchange and a German steelmaker.

Then they got more brazen, leaving fingerprints and leaking documents.

And they got away with it.

So now we can expect them to become even more brazen.

According to a report yesterday in Wired, the perceived success of the U.S. operation will "only encourage similar hacks aimed at shifting elections and sowing distrust of political processes in Western democracies, particularly those in Europe."

And major elections are on the horizon in France and Germany next year.

So the next round in Russia's cyberwar is about to begin.

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