For the life of me, I can't figure out why people are in denial about Russia's involvement in attacking our electoral process.
Sure, you can find Macedonian teenagers, and idiots in California who claim that "only conservatives fall for fake news" and that it "doesn't work with liberals" (...) but that's a side show.
Start here, and read it until you grasp what is going on:
Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say
The flood of "fake news" this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.
Russia's increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human "trolls," and networks of websites and social-media accounts echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.
Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on "fake news," as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem.
Then continue here:
A collection of articles on Russia influence operations in the United States:
The threat from Russia
22 Oct 2016
How to contain Vladimir Putins deadly, dysfunctional empire
FOUR years ago Mitt Romney, then a Republican candidate, said that Russia was Americas number-one geopolitical foe. Barack Obama, among others, mocked this hilarious gaffe: The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the cold wars been over for 20 years, scoffed the president. How times change. With Russia hacking the American election, presiding over mass slaughter in Syria, annexing Crimea and talking casually about using nuclear weapons, Mr Romneys view has become conventional wisdom. Almost the only American to dissent from it is todays Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
Belching smoke through the Channel, Russian aircraft carrier so unreliable it sails with its own breakdown tug
22 Oct 2016
The ageing Russian aircraft carrier that sailed through the English Channel escorted by the Royal Navy has been plagued by years of technical problems and is accompanied everywhere by a tug in case it breaks down.
The plumbing is so bad on the 55,000 ton Admiral Kuznetsov that many of its toilets cannot be used, while it has had repeated problems with its power and a string of accidents, naval experts said.
The Soviet-era warship is leading a flotilla of eight naval vessels to the eastern Mediterranean, where its aircraft are expected to join a renewed assault on the rebel-held city of Aleppo.
Yes, 17 intelligence agencies really did say Russia was behind hacking
21 Oct 2016
Donald Trumps claim that the United States has "no idea" who is behind recent email hacks is just not true.
The fact-checking website Politifact says Hillary Clinton is correct when she says 17 federal intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia is behind the hacking.
We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing, Clinton said during Wednesday's presidential debate in Las Vegas.
Trump pushed back, saying that Clinton and the United States had no idea whether it is Russia, China or anybody else.
But Clinton is correct. On Oct. 7, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement on behalf of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The USIC is made up of 16 agencies, in addition to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Denying Trumps Denial, US Intel Chief Says Theres More Evidence of Russian Hacking
21 Oct 2016
At Wednesdays debate, Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton has no idea whether its Russia who hacked into the private networks of her campaigns allies, then released the information to WikiLeaks and the world. Our country has no idea.
This morning, without calling out Trump by name, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said, um, yeah, we do.
The cybersecurity community has attributed that attack and leak to FANCY BEAR, a group also known as APT 28. Defense One asked Clapper if the intelligence community has identified specific people associated with the group? Specific buildings? Units? And how good is the attribution and how strong is the connection to nation-state backing?
Vladimir Putin's Russia: Will It Rock America's Vote?
22 Oct 2016
The presidential vote wont be rigged, but it may well be rockedand not just by Donald Trumps repeated threat to dispute the results if he loses.
The Republican challenger has already benefitted from foreign hacking, persuasively attributed to Russia, of the private, and often embarrassing, emails of Hillary Clintons staff and the Democratic National Committee. Now, say numerous cyber analysts, Russian hackers have the ability, and perhaps motivation, to infiltrate the nations voting booths and deliver a stunning blow to Americans already wobbling belief in the integrity of the electoral process.
You only need to mess it up a little bit, and as soon as people don't have faith in it, the whole system can start to crumble, says Ryan Duff, a former U.S. Air Force cyber tactician now working on information security in the private realm. You don't even need to sway it one way. You just have to make people think it could happen.
The looming specter of cyberwar with Russia
21 Oct 2016
In the world of cyber (as in security), the question of the week seems to be, "Are we going to cyberwar with Russia?"
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest thinks so. A week after President Obama singled out Russia as being responsible for cyberattacks on targets including the Democratic National Committee, Earnest said in a briefing that the administration would be serving a "proportional" response to Putin and the gang.
That response would be reciprocation for the very public (and not particularly sophisticated) hacking we've seen targeting the Democratic side of this particular presidential election. This includes the DNC hacks, the Guccifer 2.0 clowning around, the targeted feeding of docs to WikiLeaks. And, if we're going to include all the hacker toolsets, the unprecedented use of bots to influence opinion on social media in favor of the Republican candidate.
Evidence ties Russia to Podesta and Powell email hacks
21 Oct 2016
They appear to be part of a unified effort to disrupt the US presidential election.
Back in March, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta received a frantic-sounding email about his account security and clicked a shortened link that appeared to be from Google. Instead, it redirected to a spoof page that gave hackers access to his password. Half a year later, WikiLeaks started publicly releasing thousands of his emails on October 9th, a month after the seemingly unrelated leak of Gen. Colin Powell's personal messages. Security firms, journalists and a hive of independent researchers have spent the interim analyzing the digital break-ins and have arrived at the probable culprit behind these and several other hacks: Russia. But definitively attributing it to the country's intelligence services is difficult, if not impossible.
How Russia Pulled Off the Biggest Election Hack in U.S. History
20 Oct 2016
On an April afternoon earlier this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin headlined a gathering of some four hundred journalists, bloggers, and media executives in St. Petersburg. Dressed in a sleek navy suit, Putin looked relaxed, even comfortable, as he took questions. About an hour into the forum, a young blogger in a navy zip sweater took the microphone and asked Putin what he thought of the "so-called Panama Papers."
The blogger was referring to a cache of more than eleven million computer files that had been stolen from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm. The leak was the largest in history, involving 2.6 terabytes of data, enough to fill more than five hundred DVDs. On April 3, four days before the St. Petersburg forum, a group of international news outlets published the first in a series of stories based on the leak, which had taken them more than a year to investigate. The series revealed corruption on a massive scale: Mossack Fonseca's legal maneuverings had been used to hide billions of dollars. A central theme of the group's reporting was the matryoshka doll of secret shell companies and proxies, worth a reported $2 billion, that belonged to Putin's inner circle and were presumed to shelter some of the Russian president's vast personal wealth.
Private Security Group Says Russia Was Behind John Podestas Email Hack
20 Oct 2016
At the start of 2014, President Obama assigned his trusted counselor, John D. Podesta, to lead a review of the digital revolution, its potential and its perils. When Mr. Podesta presented his findings five months later, he called the internets onslaught of big data a historic driver of progress. But two short years later, as chairman of Hillary Clintons presidential campaign, Mr. Podesta would also become one of the internets most notable victims.
On Thursday, private security researchers said they had concluded that Mr. Podesta was hacked by Russias foreign intelligence service, the GRU, after it tricked him into clicking on a fake Google login page last March, inadvertently handing over his digital credentials.
For months, the hackers mined Mr. Podestas inbox for his most sensitive and potentially embarrassing correspondence, much of which has been posted on the WikiLeaks website. Additions to the collection on Thursday included three short email exchanges between Mr. Podesta and Mr. Obama himself in the days leading up to his election in 2008.
NSA chief: Cyber adds 'whole other dimension' to Russia's attempts to manipulate U.S. affairs
20 Oct 2016
The head of the NSA said Thursday that Russia's hack of Democratic Party emails is consistent with its history of trying to manipulate and influence affairs in other countries but the scope of such operations has changed dramatically.
"Cyber adds a whole other dimension to this because it now enables individuals, actors, groups, nation states to acquire data at massive scale and then divulge that," Adm. Michael S. Rogers told cyber professionals at the sixth annual Cyber Maryland Conference in Baltimore.
Researchers link Podesta hack to Russia
20 Oct 2016
Researchers say they now have evidence linking the hack of an email account belonging to Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman to the data breaches at Democratic groups that are believed to have been perpetrated by Russia.
Security company SecureWorks noted in a report that the cyberattack that compromised John Podesta's account used the same account on URL-shortening service Bitly as the hack of Colin Powell's email, as well as hacks of 4,000 other individuals since 2015.
How Hackers Broke Into John Podesta and Colin Powells Gmail Accounts
20 Oct 2016
On March 19 of this year, Hillary Clintons campaign chairman John Podesta received an alarming email that appeared to come from Google.
The email, however, didnt come from the internet giant. It was actually an attempt to hack into his personal account. In fact, the message came from a group of hackers that security researchers, as well as the US government, believe are spies working for the Russian government. At the time, however, Podesta didnt know any of this, and he clicked on the malicious link contained in the email, giving hackers access to his account.
State Dept. accuses Russia of 'PR stunt' in election-monitoring flap
20 Oct 2016
The State Department on Thursday accused Moscow of a PR stunt after reports emerged that the U.S. had rejected Russia's request to send delegates to monitor November's polls the latest twist in a bizarre election season sullied by accusations of Russian meddling.
Kremlin-backed news outlets such as RT, sometimes citing other media, reported Thursday that representatives of Russia's Central Elections Commission had talked to the State Department about sending a delegation to watch the U.S. polls on Nov. 8.
Intelligence Officials Reiterate Russian Responsibility for Recent Hacks
20 Oct 2016
We need to step back as a nation and think about, what are the implications of that? says NSA director
Two senior U.S. intelligence officials reiterated Thursday their belief that the Russian government stole and then leaked emails in an effort to interfere with the November elections, countering the repeated insistence from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that no one knows who carried out the attacks.
Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, said at a conference in Baltimore that we have acknowledged that the Russians were behind the penetrations, referring to hacks carried out against the Democratic National Committee, some of its affiliates and Clinton campaign aides.
We need to step back as a nation and think about what are the implications of that? Adm. Rogers said. Is that something we are comfortable with?
U.S. Confident It's Blocked Russia's Hacking Paths
19 Oct 2016
U.S. officials are confident that defensive measures put in place will stop Russia from hacking more emails to influence the upcoming election for now.
A high-level intelligence source said the U.S. and its allies have choked off cyber paths that the Russians have allegedly been using to steal emails from high-profile Democrats and other prominent Americans and make them public through WikiLeaks, DCleaks and Guccifer 2.0.
The Russians, both the state actors and their proxies, are some of the most sophisticated cyber actors in the world and so it won't take them long to find ways of infiltrating and attacking new systems getting access to more data and certainly trying to use it for information, warfare or other purposes.
"I think it's credible that the U.S. government is doing everything possible to stop the cyber bleeding," said Juan Zarate, who was a top counterterrorism official from 2005 to 2009.
If the US hacks Russia for revenge, that could lead to cyberwar
19 Oct 2016
The US should attempt to de-escalate tensions by negotiating some form of international cyber treaty before this gets out of control
Whats the CIAs brilliant plan for stopping Russian cyber-attacks on the US and their alleged interference with the US election? Apparently, some in the agency want to escalate tensions between the two superpowers even more and possibly do the same thing right back to them.
NBC News reported late last week that the CIA is working up blueprints for an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia, and it sounds a lot like theyre planning on leaking documents on Vladimir Putin, just as the Russians are accused of doing to the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
NBC reported that former intelligence officials said the agency had gathered reams of documents that could expose unsavory tactics by Russian President Vladimir Putin and another former official said the US should expose the financial dealings of Putin and his associates.
Russian Hackers Evolve to Serve the Kremlin
20 Oct 2016
Attacks on Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee are part of Vladimir Putins effort to sow instability, U.S. officials say
With the hacking of Hillary Clintons campaign and the Democratic National Committee, U.S. officials say Russia has unleashed a strengthened cyberwarfare weapon to sow uncertainty about the U.S. democratic process.
In doing so, Russia has transformed state-sponsored hackers known as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear from internet spies to political tools with the power to target the countrys adversaries, according to U.S. officials and cybersecurity experts.
The attacks are the harder side of parallel campaigns in the Kremlins English-language media, which broadcast negative news about Western institutions and alliances and focus on issues that demonstrate or stoke instability in the West, such as Brexit. Moscow seeks particularly to weaken the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has expanded its defense against Russia.
Whodunnit? Russia and Coercion through Cyberspace
19 Oct 2016
Late in May 2014, a group calling itself CyberBerkut leaked a map of the Ukrainian Dnipropetrovsk Oblast administrations IT resources, information on the Central Election Commission of Ukraines servers, and the correspondence of its staff. In the following days, which included the countrys presidential election, CyberBerkut claimed they had again compromised the election commissions servers, leaked more confidential information, conducted a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack the commissions website (which instructed potential voters how and where to vote), and blocked the phones of election organizers. The group also released documents implying that the recently appointed governor of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Igor Kolomoisky, was complicit in pro-European Ukrainian plans to promote the correct candidate for president of Ukraine.
Ex-CIA chief: Russian hackers trying to 'mess with our heads'
18 Oct 2016
A former head of the CIA said Tuesday that Russian hacking of US political groups is intended to "mess with our heads" and shake confidence in the American electoral system -- rather than influence the outcome on Election Day.
Retired Gen. Michael Hayden said that he doesn't believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to sway the election in favor of Republican nominee Donald Trump, but using the hacked information to disrupt the electoral process.
"This is too much of a carom shot for Putin to think he knows where that ball's going to end," Hayden said, speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. "I think they're doing this to mess with our heads, to erode confidence in our political process."
Could Obamas Threat of Retaliation against Russia Lead to Cyberwar?
18 Oct 2016
Online attacks are unpredictable and hard to control, leading to worries that White House cyber rattling could quickly escalate
Late last week Obama administration officials used NBC News to send Moscow a cryptic threat: The U.S. government is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia for allegedly interfering in the upcoming U.S. elections. Anonymous sources cited in the NBC story offered no details about what the U.S. might d, but said the White House has asked the CIA to cook up a clandestine cyber strategy designed to harass and embarrass Russian leadership, including Pres. Vladimir Putin.
The US plans to retaliate against Russias cyber-hacking campaign with a hack that Putin is sure to understand
17 Oct 2016
After three months of accusations that Russia is seeking to influence the US presidential election with a cyber-hacking campaign, the US is planning to strike back and send a message to Moscow with the greatest impact.
In an Oct. 16 interview on the NBC show Meet the Press, vice president Joe Biden said that the US retaliation against Russian cyber attacks would be covert. The United States two main weapons against such cyber intrusions are sanctions and a reciprocal cyber attack, but sanctions are never covert and of dubious impact. So it seems likely from Bidens remarks that the US is planning a demonstration of cyberspace might.
One likely tactic in a US cyber attack on Russia would be to threaten or actually release detailed accounts of Russian president Vladimir Putins wealth, intelligence that would have been gathered by the National Security Agency. Such a strategy could rattle Putin by potentially affecting his domestic popularity without damaging any infrastructure, and thus avert a dangerous escalation of hostilities.
U.S. Cyber Responses to Russian Hacking of the November Election
17 Oct 2016
Recent news reports regarding Russian hacks affecting the November election suggest that the United States is preparing on possible U.S. cyber actions in response, such as revealing information to the Russian public about Putins financial holdings that would be embarrassing for him. Without comment on whether this would be a wise policy move, its necessary to point out that such an action would not be a cyber response in any meaningful sense of the term.
In common parlance, the term cyber response would mean an action taken in cyberspace in reaction to some other action regarded as hostile. Response means that the response action happens after the hostile action. But nearly all of the information that we would reveal about Putins financial holdings must have been collected over a long period of timea period that almost certainly precedes the Russian hacks. The only actual action that would occur afterwardsthat is, in responseis the revealing of the discovered information. Thats not a cyber responsethat would be a policy decision to reveal information that is already in the possession of U.S. intelligence community files.
Russias War With The US Isnt A Possibility, Its Already Here
15 Oct 2016
The first phase of Russias war with the U.S. is already starting, and while it is not easily visible, its incredibly dangerous.
After months of speculation regarding the hacking of recent political figures and organizations, the U.S. intelligence community announced last week that it is confident that Russia is responsible. Wikileaks, a primary publisher of the documents resulting from those hacks, is making it evidently clear that it is targeting U.S. politics. U.S. intelligence officials also acknowledge that Russia may have a hand in hacks of various state electoral systems.
Entire US political system under attack by Russian hacking, experts warn
14 Oct 2016
Meanwhile, some US commentators on cybersecurity issues have suggested that these attacks are not a surprise but appear to be a new spin on an old strategy
It could have been a cold war drama. The world watched this week as accusations and counter-accusations were thrown by the American and Russian governments about documents stolen during a hack of the Democratic National Committee and the email account of Hillary Clintons campaign chair John Podesta.
The notion that public figures have any right to privacy appears to have been lost in the furore surrounding the story, stolen correspondence being bandied around in attempts to influence the outcome of one of the nastiest, most vitriolic US presidential campaigns in history.
Putins hope to ignite a Eurasia-style protest in the United States
16 Oct 2016
In the fall of 2004 Vladimir Putin suffered a blow he has never forgotten. The fraudulent election of a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian president, which Putin had directly and brazenly engineered, was overturned by a massive popular uprising. What came to be known as the Orange Revolution created a model for resistance to rigged elections in autocracies across Eurasia in Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Azerbaijan and, in 2012, Russia itself.
Most of the rebellions didnt succeed. But Putin developed an obsession with color revolutions, which he is convinced are neither spontaneous nor locally organized, but orchestrated by the United States and in the case of the Moscow protests four years ago, by Hillary Clinton herself.
7 Ways Russia Is Telling People to Prepare for War
14 Oct 2016
With tensions between Russia and the United States at their highest since the Cold War, there have been alarming signs coming out of Moscow that suggest the country is ready for war.
Almost no one believes the Kremlin is actually preparing for a military conflict with the United States. Most analysts instead see it as a show, intended to boost support at home and to deter Western countries from intervening militarily in Syria.
There are some unsettling things Russia has done, however, to give the impression that war is looming:
CIA Prepping for Possible Cyber Strike Against Russia
14 Oct 2016
The Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Current and former officials with direct knowledge of the situation say the CIA has been asked to deliver options to the White House for a wide-ranging "clandestine" cyber operation designed to harass and "embarrass" the Kremlin leadership.
The sources did not elaborate on the exact measures the CIA was considering, but said the agency had already begun opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation. Former intelligence officers told NBC News that the agency had gathered reams of documents that could expose unsavory tactics by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
US finds growing evidence Russia feeding emails to WikiLeaks
14 Oct 2016
There is mounting evidence that the Russian government is supplying WikiLeaks with hacked emails pertaining to the US presidential election, US officials familiar with the investigation have told CNN.
As WikiLeaks continues to publish emails belonging to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, US officials told CNN that there is growing evidence that Russia is using the organization as a delivery vehicle for the messages and other stolen information.
The methods of the disclosures "suggest Moscow is at least providing the information or is possibly directly responsible for the leaks," one US official said.
Intelligence Analyst: Russian Cyberattacks Could Roil US Elections
13 Oct 2016
Malcolm Nance is extremely worried about what might happen as U.S. votes are tallied on Nov. 8, election night.
A career U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence official with 33 years of experience, Nance said he had overwhelming evidence that Russia is seeking to interfere in U.S. elections to put "not just a finger, but their whole hand" on the scale to help Republican nominee Donald Trump and hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Nance said a number of private companies had traced cyberattacks exposing potentially damaging Democratic Party emails and voicemails back to cyber "fingerprints" clearly identified in the past as those of Russian state hackers. He said the same fingerprints were found in what turned out to be Russian hacking of power plants in Ukraine and of the German parliament.