Russian interference in US election looking more like a cyber attack

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Russian interference in US election looking more like a cyber attack

Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:25 pm

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'This is huge': National security experts were floored by the leaked NSA document on Russian election hack
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Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin.Adam Berry/Getty Images
A leaked NSA document determining that hackers connected to Russian military intelligence tried to breach US voting systems days before the 2016 election has national security experts and former intelligence officials reeling.

Russian military intelligence, according to the document, launched an attack on at least one US voting-software supplier and sent so-called spear-phishing emails to at least 100 local election officials shortly before the election.

In addition to being the strongest public indication so far that Russia interfered in the US election, the document also indicates that Russian hackers may have "penetrated further into US voting systems than was previously understood," The Intercept, which first published the document, reported.

A US intelligence official contacted by The Intercept said the document's findings were not necessarily definitive and warned against drawing too many conclusions from the analysis. The Intercept said it was unclear from the document whether the hackers had an effect on the election's outcome.


But others in the national security apparatus expressed alarm.

"This is indeed a big deal," said Bob Deitz, a veteran of the NSA and CIA who worked under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. "We are lucky that US presidential elections are so localized that it is difficult to do an effective hack."

Claire Finkelstein, a professor and national security expert at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, said of the document, "Wow, this is huge."

The leaked report is "evidence for the public now to see yet another example of quite a coherent operation" by the Russians, said Glenn Carle, a CIA veteran and former spy. "And that is significant."


The clearest indication yet of a cyberattack
The document's findings seem to more clearly indicate an attempted Russian cyberattack on the US electoral system than past findings did, Finkelstein said.

"We tend to associate this kind of stuff with China and North Korea," Finkelstein said. "Technologically advanced societies like ours are often soft targets, and there is every reason to expect Russia to engage in this kind of activity."

donald Trump
Donald Trump.Getty Images/Pool
The US intelligence community determined in 2016 that there was ample evidence of Russian interference in the election and that Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved. The intelligence community also concluded that Putin specifically chose to help candidate Donald Trump at the cost of Hillary Clinton and to cast her in an unfavorable light.

But until the NSA's report, dated May 5, was leaked earlier Monday, Russian influence during the 2016 election was gauged to be a largely covert operation. This latest document suggests that Putin's activities were far more overt.


According to the document, the attack was conducted by the GRU, a Russian military-intelligence outfit. "That's no longer just covert activities like email hacking and dissemination of fake news," Finkelstein said. "This starts to look much more like a cyberattack." Though the definition of a cyberattack has not been universally agreed upon, "it could certainly look like a military attack on US interests," Finkelstein added.

Trump likely to be highly scrutinized
Experts say the next thing to look out for is Trump's reaction to the document. The president has in the past sharply criticized leaks of sensitive or classified information to the press, and he recently ordered the Department of Justice to crack down significantly on people who leak information.

Trump's response to the NSA's document will be critical, Finkelstein said: "If he does not decry this interference or attempted interference with the machinery of democratic processes in the US, that in and of itself will be highly suspect."

http://www.businessinsider.com/nsa-leaker-arrested-russia-document-trump-national-security-2017-6

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Re: Russian interference in US election looking more like a cyber attack

Post by Original Quill on Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:57 pm

Ben wrote:A leaked NSA document determining that hackers connected to Russian military intelligence tried to breach US voting systems days before the 2016 election...

I won't say I told you so, but I told you so!  And, we're going to find the systems that they broke into were Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin...the states that jiggered the electoral college to give Trump the winning tally:

The Washington Post wrote:The most important states, though, were Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  Trump won those states by 0.2, 0.7 and 0.8 percentage points, respectively — and by 10,704, 46,765 and 22,177 votes. Those three wins gave him 46 electoral votes; if Clinton had done one point better in each state, she'd have won the electoral vote, too.

Or put another way: But for 79,646 votes cast in those three states, Hillary would be the next president of the United States.

Precision hacking is a Russian art form. Right now they're all tossed over whether to release the rest of the story...that Russia can now determine the top executive, or the entire legislature,  in any country in the world....and has been doing so for some time.

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