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Is Russia REALLY Behind the DNC Hack?

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Julian Assange and Joran Jermas aka "Israel Shamir," his Holocaust-denier associate

Julian Assange and Joran Jer­mas aka “Israel Shamir,” his Holo­caust-denier asso­ciate

Lee Harvey Oswald: Ersatz Communist

Lee Har­vey Oswald: Ersatz Com­mu­nist

COMMENT: Some cyber-secu­ri­ty experts view the “Russ­ian intel­li­gence” hack­ing of DNC com­put­ers as sus­pi­cious­ly trans­par­ent. Not­ing that the hack­er seems to have left infor­ma­tion avail­able point­ing to a Russ­ian cul­prit, some have asked if a seri­ous, pro­fes­sion­al intel­li­gence ser­vice would do some­thing like that.

It reminds us of the Lee Har­vey Oswald dou­bles who were trav­el­ing all around and tak­ing actions that would point to, and incrim­i­nate Oswald as the sup­posed assas­sin who killed Pres­i­dent Kennedy. Recall that one of the nick­names we have assigned Snow­den is “The Obverse Oswald.”

We won­der if “Team Snow­den” might have some­thing to do with this? Julian Assange has been quite open about want­i­ng to dam­age Hillary Clin­ton’s chances to win the Pres­i­den­cy.

Both Snow­den and Julian Assange are ultra-right wingers and big fans of Ron Paul, who express­es sen­ti­ments sim­i­lar to those voiced by the Trumpenkampfver­bande. The hack seems like­ly to pro­pel Hillary more in the direc­tion of the New Cold War than she is already inclined to nav­i­gate, if she wins.

Wik­iLeaks’ oper­a­tions for Rus­sia and Scan­di­navia are over­seen by Assange’s Holo­caust deny­ing close aide Joran Jer­mas (aka “Israel Shamir”) and his son Johannes Wahlstrom, a bird of the same polit­i­cal feath­er. It was Jermas/Shamir who arranged for Wik­iLeaks to be host­ed on the Pirate Bay serv­er, financed by Swedish fas­cist Carl Lund­strom.

Snow­den, of course, is in Rus­sia right now, work­ing for a com­put­er firm. Does he have any­thing to do with this? Recall it was Snow­den’s jour­ney to Rus­sia, cour­tesy of Sarah Har­ri­son and Wik­iLeaks, that put the final nail in the cof­fin of the “reboot with Rus­sia” under­tak­en by Oba­ma’s State Depart­ment under Hillary Clin­ton.

Pierre Omid­yar, who’s First Look Media were the recip­i­ent of Snow­den’s NSA files and which employs Nazi fel­low-trav­el­er Glenn Green­wald, helped finance the Ukraine coup.

In a future pro­gram and/or post, we will look at “cor­po­rate Ger­many’s” dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the sanc­tions on Rus­sia. They are cost­ing Ger­man firms a great deal of mon­ey. Bear in mind that the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work con­trols cor­po­rate Ger­many. The sit­u­a­tion of Ger­man firms and Rus­sia must also be eval­u­at­ed against tra­di­tion­al Ger­man “Ost­poli­tik,” which is cov­ered at length in Ger­many Plots with the Krem­lin avail­able for down­load for free on this web­site.

We men­tion this, because Trump’s com­ments about Putin, Rus­sia and NATO have led most observers to assume he is a “Krem­lin stooge.” We sus­pect he may actu­al­ly be under the con­trol of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work and his expressed atti­tudes toward Rus­sia reflect cor­po­rate Ger­many’s dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the US-led sanc­tions.

UPDATE: A for­mer Ger­man hack­tivist has weighed in, cast­ing fur­ther doubt on Russ­ian author­ship of the hack.

“Rus­sia Want­ed to Be Caught, Says Com­pa­ny Wag­ing War on the DNC Hack­ers” by Patrick Tuck­er; Defense One; 7/28/2016.

. . . . But secu­ri­ty expert Jeff Carr thought the smoke off this smok­ing-gun was a bit too thick. In his minor­i­ty report, he asks: what kind of spy ring tags their stolen docs before releas­ing them under a cov­er?

“Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB offi­cer would add Iron Felix’s name to the meta­da­ta of a stolen doc­u­ment before he released it to the world while pre­tend­ing to be a Roman­ian hack­er. Some­one clear­ly had a wicked sense of humor,” he wrote.

“If you were to reduce the very high lev­el of cyber­crime, states wouldn’t be able to car­ry out these attacks. They would lose this plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty and it would become a more straight­for­ward attack. I think they want to make it dif­fi­cult for lead­ers to have the kind of unam­bigu­ous state­ment that dri­ves pol­i­cy in a democ­ra­cy,” Porter said. “They want to make it hard to respond. But they prob­a­bly don’t mind get­ting caught, in the sense that they want to send a mes­sage.” . . . .

Crowd­strike pres­i­dent Shawn Hen­ry is dubi­ous. “I don’t know what kind of for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice con­duct­ing a covert oper­a­tion wants to be found,” he said on Thurs­day, but added that Crowd­Strike picked up the DNC hack with­in 48 hours and that it “wasn’t dif­fi­cult.” . . . .

Discussion

6 comments for “Is Russia REALLY Behind the DNC Hack?”

  1. Wired has a piece on the ongo­ing vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in the US’s elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines that makes a rather impor­tant point in the con­text of the sus­pi­cions that Rus­sia is play­ing a pro-Trump role in the US elec­tions by hack­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee’s emails: While the arti­cle asserts that the odds of Rus­sia hack­ing the US elec­tion is quite low giv­en the poten­tial blow­back even if you assume the Krem­lin is behind the DNC email hack, even if there is no hack­ing of the vot­ing machines in the upcom­ing elec­tion the very fact that some machines can be hacked basi­cal­ly gives some­one like Don­ald Trump and excuse to chal­lenge and try to inval­i­date the elec­tion results should he lose.

    The arti­cle goes on to point out that the num­ber of states with machines vul­ner­a­ble to hack­ing isn’t as many of is often assumed, but there are still key swing states like Penn­syl­va­nia that remain vul­ner­a­ble. So whether or not elec­tron­ic vot­ing machine hack­ing becomes a real issue with the integri­ty of the 2016 elec­tion, the exist­ing vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties are still large enough to eas­i­ly become a real threat to the per­cep­tion of the integri­ty of the elec­tion, which is almost as bad:

    Wired

    America’s Elec­tron­ic Vot­ing Machines Are Scar­i­ly Easy Tar­gets

    Bri­an Bar­rett

    08.02.16 9:57 am

    This week, GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump open­ly spec­u­lat­ed that this elec­tion would be “rigged.” Last month, Rus­sia decid­ed to take an active role in our elec­tion. There’s no basis for ques­tion­ing the results of a vote that’s still months away. But the inter­fer­ence and asper­sions do mer­it a fresh look at the woe­ful state of our out­dat­ed, inse­cure elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines.

    We’ve pre­vi­ous­ly dis­cussed the sad state of elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines in Amer­i­ca, but it’s worth a clos­er look as we approach elec­tion day itself, and with­in the con­text of increased cyber-hos­til­i­ties between the US and Rus­sia. Besides, by now states have had plen­ty of warn­ing since a damn­ing report by the Bren­nan Cen­ter for Jus­tice about our vot­ing machine vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties came out last Sep­tem­ber. Sure­ly mat­ters must have improved since then.

    Well, not exact­ly. In fact, not real­ly at all.

    Rise of the Machines

    Most peo­ple remem­ber the vote-count­ing deba­cle of the 2000 elec­tion, the dan­gling chads that result­ed in the Supreme Court break­ing a Bush-Gore dead­lock. What peo­ple may not remem­ber is the result­ing Help Amer­i­ca Vote Act (HAVA), passed in 2002, which among oth­er objec­tives worked to phase out the use of the punch­card vot­ing sys­tems that had caused mil­lions of bal­lots to be tossed.

    In many cas­es, those dat­ed machines were replaced with elec­tron­ic vot­ing sys­tems. The inten­tions were pure. The con­se­quences were a tech­no­log­i­cal train wreck.

    ...

    The extent of vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty isn’t just hypo­thet­i­cal; late last sum­mer, Vir­ginia decer­ti­fied thou­sands of inse­cure Win­Vote machines. As one secu­ri­ty researcher described it, “any­one with­in a half mile could have mod­i­fied every vote, unde­tect­ed” with­out “any tech­ni­cal exper­tise.” The ven­dor had gone out of busi­ness years pri­or.

    The Win­Vote sys­tems are an extreme case, but not an iso­lat­ed one. Oth­er vot­ing machine mod­els have poten­tial­ly vul­ner­a­ble wire­less com­po­nents; Virginia’s just the only one where a test proved how bad the sit­u­a­tion was.

    The worst part about the cur­rent state of vot­ing machines is that they don’t even require out­side inter­fer­ence to undo an elec­tion. “They’re all com­put­ers. They run on tens of thou­sands of lines of code,” says Nor­den. “It’s impos­si­ble to have a per­fect­ly secure, per­fect­ly reli­able com­put­er.”

    That’s true, but in fair­ness, most com­put­ers aren’t quite this imper­fect, either.

    A Good Kind of Audit

    So elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines aren’t ide­al. The good news is, it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble to mit­i­gate any poten­tial harm they might cause, either by mal­ice or mis­take.

    First, it’s impor­tant to real­ize that elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines aren’t as com­mon­place as one might assume. Three-quar­ters of the coun­try will vote on a paper bal­lot this fall, says Pamela Smith, pres­i­dent of Ver­i­fied Vot­ing, a group that pro­motes best prac­tices at the polls. Only five states—Delaware, Geor­gia, Louisiana, South Car­oli­na, and New Jersey—use “direct record­ing elec­tron­ic” (DRE) machines exclu­sive­ly. But lots of oth­er states use elec­tron­ic machines in some capac­i­ty. Ver­i­fied Vot­ing also has a handy map of who votes using what equip­ment, which lets you drill down both to spe­cif­ic coun­ties and machine brands, so you can see what’s in use at your polling sta­tion.

    More than half of the states con­duct post-elec­tion audit­ing, by check­ing vote totals against paper records, to ensure that the votes are accu­rate. Both Smith and Nor­den agree that this sort of audit­ing is the sin­gle best way to guar­an­tee con­fi­dence in elec­tion results, as does MIT com­put­er sci­en­tist Ronald Rivest, who has writ­ten exten­sive­ly [PDF] on vot­ing machine issues.

    The prob­lem is that not every state does post-elec­tion audits. And even some that require them by law, name­ly Penn­syl­va­nia and Ken­tucky, don’t actu­al­ly use vot­er-ver­i­fi­able paper trails, mean­ing they have no way to com­plete an audit. And progress toward more and bet­ter audit­ing is slow; Mary­land just put an auditable sys­tem in place this year, Smith says, and will pilot it dur­ing the fall elec­tion. Over a dozen states still have no audit pro­ce­dure at all.

    The prob­lem with putting these audit­ing sys­tems in place is the same one keep­ing more reli­able vot­ing machines from the booths in the first place: a lack of mon­ey and polit­i­cal will. There’s new vot­ing equip­ment out there that’s much more secure than the machines states pur­chased in bulk a decade or more ago, but only a hand­ful of states and municipalities—Rhode Island, DC, and parts of Wis­con­sin among them—have upgrad­ed in the past year.

    “The money’s not there right now,” says Nor­den. “We inter­viewed elec­tion offi­cials who told us what they were hear­ing from their state leg­is­la­tors and oth­ers who would be fund­ing this type of equip­ment, and they say come back to us after there’s some kind of cri­sis.”

    Which, if they wait long enough, is exact­ly what they’re going to get.

    Rig­ging the Vote

    For what it’s worth, elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines have been this hack­able in pre­vi­ous elec­tions as well, and there’s no indication—even in Virginia—that there’s ever been any inter­fer­ence.

    This year feels dif­fer­ent though, in no small mea­sure because of Russia’s alleged respon­si­bil­i­ty for the DNC hack. If Putin would go so far as release those emails, would he pur­sue a direct assault on our vul­ner­a­ble vot­ing machines as well?

    The short answer? Nyet.

    “Putin’s not very nice, but he’s not stu­pid,” says Ryan Maness, a vis­it­ing fel­low at North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty who spe­cial­izes in inter­na­tion­al cyber con­flict and Russ­ian for­eign pol­i­cy. “If they were going to mess with the vot­ing machines and the vote-count­ing soft­ware, they wouldn’t have done the DNC hack.”

    Maness argues that the DNC hack and sub­se­quent email release has put a spot­light on Rus­sia. The blow­back from such direct inter­fer­ence in a Unit­ed States elec­tion would be too severe. Besides, Maness says, Putin’s main objec­tive was like­ly to embar­rass Hillary Clin­ton, rather than ele­vate Trump. And he’s cer­tain­ly achieved that much already.

    But even if Maness is wrong, the even bet­ter news is that the three states that will like­ly decide the election—Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—have vot­ing machines that are in rel­a­tive­ly good shape. Flori­da has an audit require­ment in place, while Ohio not only con­ducts audits, Smith says, it has an “auto­mat­ic recount pro­vi­sion,” where close races trig­ger a man­u­al recount with­out requir­ing a can­di­date to request one. “Penn­syl­va­nia is of the most con­cern” among those three, says Smith, “based on the fact they have so many paper­less DREs in use.” Even there, though, elec­tion offi­cials will active­ly deploy paper bal­lots in the event that those machines fail.

    Still, unlike­li­hood that Rus­sia would tam­per with our vot­ing machines hasn’t lift­ed the sense of unease around the elec­tion. When Don­ald Trump sug­gests the elec­tion might be “rigged,” he’s refer­ring to a host of poten­tial dis­rup­tions, from the times and dates of sched­uled debates to what­ev­er else he might bend to his nar­ra­tive. In Novem­ber, should he lose, he’ll find the vot­ing machines to be an easy tar­get.

    That sus­pi­cion is the real dan­ger of elec­tron­ic vot­ing sys­tems, and espe­cial­ly of those that can’t be eas­i­ly or effec­tive­ly audit­ed. If you can’t guar­an­tee that there was no tampering—which not every state can—it might not mat­ter if any actu­al­ly took place. In the wrong hands, the doubt itself is dam­ag­ing enough.

    “Still, unlike­li­hood that Rus­sia would tam­per with our vot­ing machines hasn’t lift­ed the sense of unease around the elec­tion. When Don­ald Trump sug­gests the elec­tion might be “rigged,” he’s refer­ring to a host of poten­tial dis­rup­tions, from the times and dates of sched­uled debates to what­ev­er else he might bend to his nar­ra­tive. In Novem­ber, should he lose, he’ll find the vot­ing machines to be an easy tar­get.

    Keep in mind that all of this could have been avoid­ed if state leg­is­la­tors weren’t hold­ing out for a cri­sis first:

    ...
    The prob­lem with putting these audit­ing sys­tems in place is the same one keep­ing more reli­able vot­ing machines from the booths in the first place: a lack of mon­ey and polit­i­cal will. There’s new vot­ing equip­ment out there that’s much more secure than the machines states pur­chased in bulk a decade or more ago, but only a hand­ful of states and municipalities—Rhode Island, DC, and parts of Wis­con­sin among them—have upgrad­ed in the past year.

    “The money’s not there right now,” says Nor­den. “We inter­viewed elec­tion offi­cials who told us what they were hear­ing from their state leg­is­la­tors and oth­ers who would be fund­ing this type of equip­ment, and they say come back to us after there’s some kind of cri­sis.”

    Which, if they wait long enough, is exact­ly what they’re going to get.

    ...

    Also keep in mind that the cur­rent night­mare sit­u­a­tion is actu­al­ly the result of a response to a cri­sis: the 2000 Flori­da recount. So wait­ing for a cri­sis and pan­ick­ing might not be the best approach.

    Oh, and don’t for­get that the GOP has an almost com­plete stran­gle­hold on state gov­ern­ments.
    So it’s pret­ty clear that this sit­u­a­tion is going to linger until there’s a cri­sis. Real or per­ceived. And per­haps that’s one pos­si­ble pos­i­tive out­come if Trump los­es and imme­di­ate­ly charges that elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines did him in: maybe Trump will cre­ate the cri­sis required to final­ly get rid of the garbage machines and imple­ment sys­tems with mean­ing­ful safe­guards. Or course, that assumes that Trump does­n’t lose and imme­di­ate chal­lenge the elec­tion with an armed insur­rec­tion or some­thing:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump: ‘I’m Afraid’ The Gen­er­al Elec­tion’s ‘Gonna Be Rigged’

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished August 1, 2016, 4:35 PM EDT

    At a Mon­day cam­paign event in Colum­bus, Ohio, Don­ald Trump teed up for a poten­tial chal­lenge to the integri­ty of the fall gen­er­al elec­tion, an esca­la­tion of his rhetoric about the “rigged” pri­ma­ry sys­tem.

    “I’m afraid the elec­tion’s gonna be rigged, I have to be hon­est,” Trump told the crowd.

    While Trump has often ques­tioned the integri­ty of the pri­ma­ry con­tests in both par­ties, his newest remarks seemed to begin lay­ing ground­work for him to con­test the Nov. 8 elec­tion results.

    It was a line of attack that long­time Trump advis­er Roger Stone pushed on a pod­cast with Bre­it­bart’s Milo Yiannopou­los that was post­ed online Fri­day. Stone sug­gest­ed vot­er fraud is “wide­spread” and said if Hillary Clin­ton wins a state like Flori­da after polls show Trump in the lead, the elec­tion would be “ille­git­i­mate.”

    “If there’s vot­er fraud, this elec­tion will be ille­git­i­mate, the elec­tion of the win­ner will be ille­git­i­mate, we will have a con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis, wide­spread civ­il dis­obe­di­ence, and the gov­ern­ment will no longer be the gov­ern­ment,” Stone said. He also promised a “blood­bath” if the Democ­rats attempt to “steal” the elec­tion.

    ...

    ““If there’s vot­er fraud, this elec­tion will be ille­git­i­mate, the elec­tion of the win­ner will be ille­git­i­mate, we will have a con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis, wide­spread civ­il dis­obe­di­ence, and the gov­ern­ment will no longer be the gov­ern­ment,” Stone said. He also promised a “blood­bath” if the Democ­rats attempt to “steal” the elec­tion.

    Keep in mind that Roger Stone was explic­it­ly talk­ing about the risk of Diebold vot­ing machines in the inter­view before he promised a “blood­bath” if the Democ­rats attempt to “steal” the elec­tion and actu­al­ly con­clud­ed that Diebold machines like­ly helped George W. Bush steal the 2004 elec­tion from John Ker­ry and Karl Rove tried to steal the 2012 elec­tron­i­cal­ly but Oba­ma paid the hack­ers more:

    Bre­it­bart

    Roger Stone on The Milo Show: How Trump Can Fight Vot­er Fraud

    by Char­lie Nash
    29 Jul 2016

    Repub­li­can strate­gist, lob­by­ist, and Don­ald Trump con­fi­dante Roger Stone joined Bre­it­bart‘s Milo Yiannopou­los on the lat­est episode of the Milo Yiannopou­los Show to dis­cuss vot­er fraud and how Trump has the abil­i­ty to beat it.

    “I think your audi­ence knows, I think we all know, that in this day and age, a com­put­er can do any­thing. These vot­er machines are essen­tial­ly a com­put­er. Who is to say they could not be rigged?” asked Stone on the top­ic of vot­er fraud.

    “Of course they can. Now, you ask me why the Repub­li­cans don’t do it, but sad­ly I think they do,” Stone said. “That’s why I briefly had to leave the Repub­li­can Par­ty and become a Lib­er­tar­i­an.”

    “I have no doubt that after the last elec­tion, when Karl Rove, who was George Bush’s cam­paign man­ag­er and a Rom­ney par­ti­san, insist­ed that ‘no no, your num­bers have to be wrong,’ he said on Fox, ‘Rom­ney def­i­nite­ly car­ried Ohio,’ and the rea­son he was so cer­tain is because it was bought and paid for,” he claimed. “He knew the fix was sup­posed to be in. There­fore I can only con­clude that some­times things don’t stay bought, and per­haps Oba­ma came in with a bet­ter offer.”

    ...

    “Yeah, the elec­tions are rigged for one enti­ty or anoth­er. So, who are the per­pe­tra­tors? The per­pe­tra­tors are the peo­ple who man­u­fac­ture and sell these machines. The most com­mon elec­tron­ic vot­ing machine, which is real­ly just a com­put­er, is a com­pa­ny called Diebold,” Stone replied.

    “Diebold’s top exec­u­tives and own­ers of the com­pa­ny are major donors to the Bush’s. Is this a major fac­tor on how George W. Bush quite improb­a­bly beat John Ker­ry? An elec­tion that all truths on paper, Ker­ry should’ve won, and Bush should have lost,” ques­tioned Stone.

    “I think we have wide­spread vot­er fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talk­ing about it con­stant­ly,” Stone said. “He needs to say for exam­ple, today would be a per­fect exam­ple: ‘I am lead­ing in Flori­da. The polls all show it. If I lose Flori­da, we will know that there’s vot­er fraud. If there’s vot­er fraud, this elec­tion will be ille­git­i­mate, the elec­tion of the win­ner will be ille­git­i­mate, we will have a con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis, wide­spread civ­il dis­obe­di­ence, and the gov­ern­ment will no longer be the gov­ern­ment.’”

    “If you can’t have an hon­est elec­tion, noth­ing else counts,” he con­tin­ued. “I think he’s got­ta put them on notice that their inau­gu­ra­tion will be a rhetor­i­cal, and when I mean civ­il dis­obe­di­ence, not vio­lence, but it will be a blood­bath. The gov­ern­ment will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it.”

    “So, I mean the dream here, the ulti­mate ide­al is that he wins by such a sig­nif­i­cant mar­gin nation­al­ly that this is unnec­es­sary,” Yiannopou­los con­clud­ed. “But it’s inter­est­ing to hear you say this, and it’s fun­ny also, because Trump will go there. He will go to the places oth­er politi­cians wont, and he’s prob­a­bly the only per­son to run for pres­i­dent with­in the last fifty years who would dare to do this, and might even get away with it. It’s remark­able isn’t it how he’s just sort of re-inject­ed real­i­ty into pol­i­tics”.

    “I think we have wide­spread vot­er fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talk­ing about it con­stant­ly...He needs to say for exam­ple, today would be a per­fect exam­ple: ‘I am lead­ing in Flori­da. The polls all show it. If I lose Flori­da, we will know that there’s vot­er fraud. If there’s vot­er fraud, this elec­tion will be ille­git­i­mate, the elec­tion of the win­ner will be ille­git­i­mate, we will have a con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis, wide­spread civ­il dis­obe­di­ence, and the gov­ern­ment will no longer be the gov­ern­ment.’

    That’s Roger Stone’s advice to Trump: Talk about elec­tron­ic vot­ing machine fraud con­stant­ly, and when he’s lead­ing in a poll in a state like Flori­da use that moment to declare that is he does lose that state it’s due to elec­tron­ic vot­ing machine fraud which means “we will have a con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis, wide­spread civ­il dis­obe­di­ence, and the gov­ern­ment will no longer be the gov­ern­ment.”

    Yep, Trump can’t lose using this strat­e­gy. At least not in the minds of his sup­port­ers. If he wins, it’s because he’s a win­ner (and not because Wik­ileaks hack­ers or the Krem­lin ‘assist­ed’ him), and if he los­es it’s because Hillary stole the elec­tion and the gov­ern­ment is no longer legit­i­mate. Giv­en all that, if you’re an ene­my of the Unit­ed States, not only do you want to hack the elec­tion, you also want to do it bla­tant­ly, frame some oth­er group (since hack­ers can often do that), and ensure they caught in the act.

    So let’s hope all those remain­ing vul­ner­a­ble machines will get fixed before the next elec­tion. Also, let’s hope there’s a next elec­tion. Threats a blood­baths sort of com­pli­cate those kinds of hope.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 2, 2016, 6:12 pm
  2. @Pterrafractyl–

    Keep an eye peeled for hack­ing attrib­uted to Rus­sia, but actu­al­ly done by–who knows?

    The “Rus­sia hacked the DNC” does­n’t pass the sniffs test, as dis­cussed in the post to which you com­ment­ed.

    With Eddie the Friend­ly Spook in Rus­sia and work­ing with com­put­ers and the fas­cists at Wik­iLeaks man­i­fest­ing pre­cise­ly what David Golum­bia dis­cussed, it is going to be inter­est­ing, to say the least.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | August 2, 2016, 9:33 pm
  3. @Dave: The Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tion’s blog has an inter­est­ing piece by Dr. San­dro Gay­ck­en, a Berlin-based for­mer ‘hack­tivist’ who now advis­es NATO and the Ger­man gov­ern­ment on cyber-secu­ri­ty mat­ters, that makes the case that the evi­dence impli­cat­ing Rus­sia was very much the type of evi­dence a tal­ent­ed team could spoof. He also notes that some of the tools used in the hack were the same used last year when Angela Merkel’s com­put­er was hacked and used to infect oth­er com­put­ers at the Bun­destag. That hack was also blamed on Russ­ian hack­ers. But, again, as the arti­cle below points out, when the evi­dence for who is respon­si­ble is high­ly spoofa­ble, con­fi­dent­ly assign­ing blame is almost too easy:

    Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions Blog

    Blam­ing Rus­sia For the DNC Hack Is Almost Too Easy

    by Guest Blog­ger
    August 1, 2016

    Dr. San­dro Gay­ck­en is the Direc­tor of the Dig­i­tal Soci­ety Insti­tute, a for­mer hack­tivist, and a strate­gic advi­sor to NATO, some Ger­man DAX-com­pa­nies and the Ger­man gov­ern­ment on cyber mat­ters.

    The hack of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee (DNC) def­i­nite­ly looks Russ­ian. The evi­dence is com­pelling. The tools used in the inci­dent appeared in pre­vi­ous cas­es of alleged Russ­ian espi­onage, some of which appeared in the Ger­man Bun­destag hack. The attack­ers, dubbed Cozy Bear and Fan­cy Bear, have been known for years and have long been rumored to have a Russ­ian con­nec­tion. Oth­er indi­ca­tors such as IP address­es, lan­guage and loca­tion set­tings in the doc­u­ments’ meta­da­ta and code com­pi­la­tion point to Rus­sia. The Krem­lin is also known to prac­tice influ­ence oper­a­tions, and a leak before the Democ­rats’ con­ven­tion fits that pro­file as does laun­der­ing the infor­ma­tion through a third par­ty like Wik­ileaks. Final­ly, the cui bono makes sense as well; Rus­sia may favor Don­ald Trump giv­en his Putin-friend­ly state­ments and his views on NATO.

    Alto­geth­er, it looks like a clean-cut case. But before accus­ing a nuclear pow­er like Rus­sia of inter­fer­ing in a U.S. elec­tion, these argu­ments should be thor­ough­ly and skep­ti­cal­ly scru­ti­nized.

    A crit­i­cal look expos­es the sig­nif­i­cant flaws in the attri­bu­tion. First, all of the tech­ni­cal evi­dence can be spoofed. Although some argue that spoof­ing the mound of uncov­ered evi­dence is too much work, it can eas­i­ly be done by a small team of good attack­ers in three or four days. Sec­ond, the tools used by Cozy Bear appeared on the black mar­ket when they were first dis­cov­ered years ago and have been recy­cled and used against many oth­er tar­gets, includ­ing against Ger­man indus­try. The reuse and fine-tun­ing of exist­ing mal­ware hap­pens all the time. Third, the lan­guage, loca­tion set­tings, and com­pi­la­tion meta­da­ta can eas­i­ly be altered by chang­ing basic set­tings on the attacker’s com­put­er in five min­utes with­out the need of spe­cial knowl­edge. None of tech­ni­cal evi­dence is con­vinc­ing. It would only be con­vinc­ing if the attack­ers used entire­ly nov­el, unique, and sophis­ti­cat­ed tools with unmis­tak­able indi­ca­tors point­ing to Rus­sia sup­port­ed by human intel­li­gence, not by mal­ware analy­sis.

    The DNC attack­ers also had very poor, almost com­i­cal, oper­a­tional secu­ri­ty (OPSEC). State actors tend to have a qual­i­ty assur­ance review when devel­op­ing cyber­at­tack tools to min­i­mize the risk of dis­cov­ery and leav­ing obvi­ous crumbs behind. Russ­ian intel­li­gence ser­vices are espe­cial­ly good. They are high­ly capa­ble, tac­ti­cal­ly and strate­gi­cal­ly agile, and ratio­nal. They ensure that offen­sive tools are tai­lored and pro­por­tion­ate to the sig­nal they want to send, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of dis­clo­sure and pub­lic per­cep­tion, and the odds of esca­la­tion. The shod­dy OPSEC just doesn’t fit what we know about Russ­ian intel­li­gence.

    The claim that Guc­cifer 2.0 is a Russ­ian false flag oper­a­tion may not hold up either. If Rus­sia want­ed to cov­er up the fact it had hacked the DNC, why cre­ate a pseu­do­nym that could only attract more atten­tion and pub­lish emails? Dump­ing a trove of doc­u­ments all at once is less valu­able than cher­ry pick­ing the most dam­ag­ing infor­ma­tion and strate­gi­cal­ly leak­ing it in a craft­ed and tar­get­ed fash­ion, as the FSB, SVR or GRU have prob­a­bly done in the past. Also, leak­ing to Wik­ileaks isn’t hard. They have a sub­mis­sion form.

    Giv­en these argu­ments, blam­ing Rus­sia is not a slam dunk. Why would a coun­try with some of the best intel­li­gence ser­vices in the world com­mit a whole series of real­ly stu­pid mis­takes in a high­ly sen­si­tive oper­a­tion? Why pick a tar­get that has a strong chance of lead­ing to esca­la­to­ry activ­i­ty when Rus­sia is known to pre­fer incre­men­tal actions over dras­tic ones? Why go through the trou­ble of a false flag when doing noth­ing would have been arguably bet­ter? Last­ly, how does Rus­sia ben­e­fit from pub­licly back­ing Don­ald Trump giv­en that Repub­li­cans have been skep­ti­cal of improv­ing rela­tions?

    The evi­dence and infor­ma­tion in the pub­lic domain strong­ly sug­gests Rus­sia was behind the DNC hack, even though Russ­ian intel­li­gence ser­vices would have had the choice of not mak­ing it so clear cut giv­en what we know about their tools, tac­tics, pro­ce­dures, and think­ing.

    The DNC hack leads to at least four “what if” ques­tions, each with its own sig­nif­i­cant pol­i­cy con­se­quences. First, if Rus­sia had poor oper­a­tional secu­ri­ty and mis­judged its tar­get, it needs to be edu­cat­ed about the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of cer­tain tar­gets in its favorite adver­sary coun­tries to avoid a repeat of this dis­as­ter. Sec­ond, if Rus­sia delib­er­ate­ly hacked the DNC to leak con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion, it would rep­re­sent a strate­gic esca­la­tion on behalf of the Krem­lin and the world would need to pre­pare for dif­fi­cult times ahead. Third, if the breach and leak were per­pe­trat­ed by a bunch of ran­dom activists using the pseu­do­nym “Guc­cifer 2.0“, it would be the first instance of non-state actors suc­ceed­ing in cre­at­ing a glob­al inci­dent with severe strate­gic impli­ca­tions, demand­ing more con­trol of such enti­ties and a much bet­ter design of esca­la­to­ry process­es among nations. Final­ly, it is entire­ly pos­si­ble that this was a false flag oper­a­tion by an unknown third par­ty to esca­late ten­sions between nuclear super­pow­ers. If this is the case, this par­ty has to be uncov­ered.

    ...

    “The DNC hack leads to at least four “what if” ques­tions, each with its own sig­nif­i­cant pol­i­cy con­se­quences. First, if Rus­sia had poor oper­a­tional secu­ri­ty and mis­judged its tar­get, it needs to be edu­cat­ed about the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of cer­tain tar­gets in its favorite adver­sary coun­tries to avoid a repeat of this dis­as­ter. Sec­ond, if Rus­sia delib­er­ate­ly hacked the DNC to leak con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion, it would rep­re­sent a strate­gic esca­la­tion on behalf of the Krem­lin and the world would need to pre­pare for dif­fi­cult times ahead. Third, if the breach and leak were per­pe­trat­ed by a bunch of ran­dom activists using the pseu­do­nym “Guc­cifer 2.0“, it would be the first instance of non-state actors suc­ceed­ing in cre­at­ing a glob­al inci­dent with severe strate­gic impli­ca­tions, demand­ing more con­trol of such enti­ties and a much bet­ter design of esca­la­to­ry process­es among nations. Final­ly, it is entire­ly pos­si­ble that this was a false flag oper­a­tion by an unknown third par­ty to esca­late ten­sions between nuclear super­pow­ers. If this is the case, this par­ty has to be uncov­ered.

    That last point seems pret­ty crit­i­cal because if this real­ly was car­ried about by an unknown third par­ty designed to ratch­et up ten­sions between the world’s two lead­ing nuclear pow­ers at a time when ten­sions are already ratch­eted up, that’s sort of an attack on life on Earth and arguably a lot seri­ous than if Rus­sia was behind it. While it would be a seri­ous and rather insane move on the Krem­lin’s part if it med­dled in this man­ner in a US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, that’s prob­a­bly a lot less scary than unknown third par­ty actors with sophis­ti­cat­ed hack­ing skills who are intent on ratch­et­ing up ten­sions between nuclear pow­ers. Because there’s no rea­son to assume they’ll stop here. For all we know spoof hacks designed to pit the US and Rus­sia against each oth­er, or maybe the India and Pak­istan or any oth­er pair of nuclear armed adver­saries, could be emerg­ing as the New Nor­mal.

    Let’s also keep in mind that, whether or not the Krem­lin was behind the DNC hack, the prece­dent of state-sanc­tioned hack­ing to med­dle in a for­eign elec­tion has effec­tive­ly been set and that means not only is it pos­si­ble that the US could retal­i­ate in kind and release some embar­rass­ing info on Putin but there’s also noth­ing stop­ping a unknown third par­ty from spoof­ing a US attack and tak­ing this sit­u­a­tion to anoth­er lev­el. We could lit­er­al­ly have a sin­gle unknown third par­ty fight both sides of the same spoofed cyber­war. Or maybe oth­er pre­vi­ous­ly unin­volved unknown third par­ties could join in on the fun. That’s the opaque nature of the mod­ern dig­i­tal land­scape.

    Yikes.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 3, 2016, 5:24 pm
  4. http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_57a2575ee4b04414d1f365b1

    “Mean­while, he [Assange] has attract­ed sup­port from pow­er­ful anti‑U.S. actors in his bat­tle with Swedish author­i­ties. Two right-wing polit­i­cal par­ties in Europe that are skep­ti­cal of Wash­ing­ton . . . the far-right Nation­al Front in France and the pro-Brex­it U.K. Inde­pen­dence Par­ty, have called for their coun­tries to grant Assange asy­lum so he can avoid ques­tion­ing by Swe­den.”

    Posted by Sterling Snuff | August 3, 2016, 7:37 pm
  5. Check out what appears to be Julian Assange’s lat­est attempt to get Don­ald Trump elect­ed: While Assange refused to answer who the source was for the DNC email hack dur­ing a TV inter­view, he did very strong­ly hint that the source was Seth Rich, a recent­ly mur­dered young DNC staffer, although he also left enough wig­gle room to deny what he just strong­ly sug­gest­ed. Also, Wik­ileaks just offered $20,000 for any­one with infor­ma­tion on Rich’s mur­der. The Force The Trump is strong with this one:

    Slate

    Wik­iLeaks Is Fan­ning a Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry That Hillary Mur­dered a DNC Staffer

    By Jere­my Stahl
    Aug. 9 2016 6:35 PM

    Julian Assange and his Wik­iLeaks orga­ni­za­tion appear to be active­ly encour­ag­ing a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee staffer was mur­dered for nefar­i­ous polit­i­cal pur­pos­es, per­haps by Hillary Clin­ton.

    Seth Rich was killed last month in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., in an ear­ly morn­ing shoot­ing that police have spec­u­lat­ed was a failed rob­bery. Because Rich did vot­er out­reach for the DNC and because we live in a ridicu­lous world, con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists have glommed on to a fan­tas­ti­cal sto­ry that Rich was an FBI infor­mant meet­ing with pur­port­ed agents who were actu­al­ly a hit team sent by Hillary Clin­ton. There is of course absolute­ly zero evi­dence for this and Snopes has issued a com­pre­hen­sive debunk­ing of the premise (Rich is only 27 and has only worked at the DNC since 2014 so is unlike­ly to be in pos­ses­sion of infor­ma­tion that might take down Clin­ton, he was on the phone with his girl­friend at the time of the shoot­ing and she hasn’t report­ed any FBI meet­ing, there have been a string of rob­beries in the area, an FBI ren­dezvous at 4 a.m. only hap­pens in movies, the whole thing is bat­shit crazy, etc.).

    The fact that the idea is so absurd, though, has not stopped Assange from sug­gest­ing that Rich was mur­dered for nefar­i­ous polit­i­cal pur­pos­es either because he was an infor­mant for the FBI or because he may have been a source in last month’s Wik­iLeaks release of thou­sands of DNC emails. In an inter­view on Tues­day that was picked up by Buz­zFeed’s Andrew Kaczyn­s­ki, Assange seemed to lend cre­dence to the idea that Rich had been retal­i­at­ed against.

    “Wik­iLeaks nev­er sits on mate­r­i­al. Whistle­blow­ers go to sig­nif­i­cant efforts to get us mate­r­i­al and often very sig­nif­i­cant risks,” Assange said in an inter­view with the Dutch tele­vi­sion pro­gram Nieuw­su­ur. “There’s a 27-year-old who works for the DNC who was shot in the back, mur­dered, just a few weeks ago, for unknown rea­sons as he was walk­ing down the streets in Wash­ing­ton.”

    When Assange was ques­tioned as to what the hell he was talk­ing about, he said, “I’m sug­gest­ing that our sources take risks and they are—they become con­cerned to see things occur­ring like that.”

    The impli­ca­tion here is that either Assange’s sources are fear­ful that Rich might have been a whistle­blow­er to the FBI or some­one else and was tak­en out by Clin­ton or others—as the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry suggests—or that he was a whistle­blow­er for Assange’s group and was mur­dered because of that.

    When the inter­view­er asked Assange if he was imply­ing that Rich was a Wik­iLeaks source, he said, “We don’t com­ment on who our sources are.”

    On Tues­day, Wik­iLeaks sent out a tweet offer­ing a $20,000 reward for infor­ma­tion about Rich’s mur­der:

    ANNOUNCE: Wik­iLeaks has decid­ed to issue a US$20k reward for infor­ma­tion lead­ing to con­vic­tion for the mur­der of DNC staffer Seth Rich.— Wik­iLeaks (@wikileaks) August 9, 2016

    “We are inves­ti­gat­ing to under­stand what hap­pened in that sit­u­a­tion with Seth Rich,” Assange told the Dutch net­work. “I think it is a con­cern­ing sit­u­a­tion. There’s not a con­clu­sion yet, we wouldn’t be will­ing to state a con­clu­sion, but we are con­cerned about it and more impor­tant­ly a vari­ety of Wik­ileaks sources are con­cerned when that kind of thing hap­pens.”

    ...

    “When the inter­view­er asked Assange if he was imply­ing that Rich was a Wik­iLeaks source, he said, “We don’t com­ment on who our sources are.””

    Yes, Wik­ileaks nev­er com­ments on who its sources are. Of course, that com­ment came right after a string of state­ments by Assange that strong­ly sug­gest­ed that Seth Rich was indeed the Wik­ileaks source. So, either Wik­ileaks has some real evi­dence that Seth Rich was the source of the DNC email hack or Assange is basi­cal­ly try­ing to con­fuse inves­ti­ga­tors and smear a dead DNC staffer in order to get Don­ald Trump elect­ed pres­i­dent. Because he cares about the world.

    Beyond the many ques­tions this lat­est stunt rais­es about the rela­tion­ship between the Trump cam­paign and Assange, you also have to won­der if Wik­ileaks has any inten­tion of turn­ing over their evi­dence that Rich was their source to inves­ti­ga­tors. Because if he real­ly was Wik­ileak’s source that would be a huge­ly impor­tant piece of infor­ma­tion for inves­ti­ga­tors. So unless we learn that Wik­ileaks turns over evi­dence that Rich was the source it’s going to be real­ly hard to take this claim seri­ous­ly. After all, it’s not like Wik­ileaks would be pro­tect­ing Rich’s iden­ti­ty at this point after that inter­view.

    Note that Rich’s fam­i­ly is dis­miss­ing Assange’s sug­ges­tion and is ask­ing that it not be tak­en seri­ous­ly. But, hey, if this is real and Wik­ileaks real­ly does have evi­dence that Rich was their source that would indeed be quite a twist. Of course, if that evi­dence does­n’t emerge that would also be a twist, albeit mere­ly the lat­est twist in Julian Assange’s long weird path to becom­ing Don­ald Trump’s lead hack­er.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 10, 2016, 5:11 pm
  6. @Pterrafractyl–

    Oh, so it was Seth Rich, not Rus­sia?

    I’m con­fused. Of course, Assange is a VERY cred­i­ble source, as is Roger Stone.

    We aren’t being tak­en for a ride, are we?

    Posted by Dave Emory | August 10, 2016, 5:53 pm

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