Russian Prez admits possibility of some private individuals targeting US polls.
St Petersburg: President Vladimir Putin insisted on Thursday that the Russian state has never engaged in hacking and scoffed at allegations that hackers could influence the outcome of elections in the US or Europe.
But the Russian leader admitted the possibility that some individual “patriotic” hackers could have mounted some attacks amid the current cold spell in Russia’s relations with the West.
Speaking at a meeting with senior editors of leading international news agencies, Mr Putin also alleged that some evidence pointing at Russian hackers’ participation in attacks — he didn’t specify which — could have been rigged in an attempt to smear Russia.
Mr Putin argued that hackers, wherever they come from, can’t sway election outcomes because the public mood cannot be manipulated that easily. “I’m deeply convinced that no hackers can radically influence another country’s election campaign,” he said. “No hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia or America.”
Mr Putin added Russia-West tensions could have prompted some individuals to launch cyber attacks. “If they have patriotic leanings, they may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia.”