Tag: putin

US senators investigate Russian hacking

russian-villagersWhile Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump is denying his chum Tsar Vladimir Putin unleashed his team of hackers to help him win the election, senior U.S. intelligence officials will testify in Congress on Thursday on Russia’s alleged cyber-attacks during the 2016 election campaign.

Trump has not been briefed on the hacks yet, but that has not stopped him denying they took place.  He is apparently going to receive details on the DMC hack today.

He is already heading for a spat with Democrats and fellow Republicans in Congress, many of whom don’t like Putin and distrust Trump’s praise of the chap.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre are expected to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is chaired by Republican John McCain, a vocal critic of Putin.

Their testimony on cyber threats facing the United States will come a week after President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over their alleged involvement in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 election.

US intelligence agencies say Russia was behind hacks into Democratic Party organizations and operatives before the presidential election, a conclusion supported by several private cybersecurity firms. Moscow denies it.

US intelligence officials have also said the Russian cyber-attacks aimed to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Several Republicans acknowledge Russian hacking during the election but have not linked it to an effort to help Trump win.

Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager, were leaked to the media in advance of the election, embarrassing the Clinton campaign.

Trump and top advisers believe Democrats are trying to delegitimize his election victory by accusing Russian authorities of helping him.

However, he has not helped his case by nominating Moscow-friendly types to senior administration posts, including secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, who while Exxon Mobil chief executive, was awarded the Order of Friendship, a Russian state honour, by Putin in 2013.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will also hold a closed-door hearing today to look at Russia’s alleged hacking and harassment of US diplomats.


Snowden knows that Trump was given a hand by Putin

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a U.S. defence contractor, is pictured during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong KongWhile the FBI, CIA and President Barack Obama all agree that Russia hacked the DNC and asserted its will on the US presidential election they seem to be having difficulty convincing the world.

If you post news about the hack anywhere online you will normally get otherwise sane people parroting the mantra that “there is no proof.”

So far most of the proof has come from private security companies who normally would be accepted without question, but for some reason no one is believing them this time. Official comments from the spooks are short on anything that people call proof.

Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump has done his best to claim that it was not his good chum President Putin. He claims that hacking is hard to prove.
Only it really isn’t. According to a new document leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA has successfully traced a hack back to Russian intelligence at least once before.

A classified excerpt from page from the NSA’s internal wiki shows that the NSA once verified that Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s email account had been targeted by Russian Federal Intelligence Services a year before her 2006 murder.

The information is classified as “Top Secret Signals Intelligence” which means that the NSA knows Politkovskaya’s email was hacked by Russian operatives because they were able to trace the hack back to Russian intelligence.

The entry itself doesn’t specifically say how this trace was accomplished or provide the evidence — but the existence of the entry shows that the NSA is wholly capable of tracing such hacks back to their source.

While it does not prove that the Russia gamed the US election, it shows that the US intelligence agencies can gather the proof. It also shows that when the proof is found it is classified. The US does not want to risk showing its hand to foreign operators.

This would lead to a strange situation where President Obama, all the spooks and the White House dog all know that Russia gamed the election and can take action against Russia, but the rest of the world will not know why.

When Trump takes office in a couple of weeks he will know too, but it is unlikely he will say anything. After all he owes Putin’s Oligarch mates rather a lot of money.

White House rushes to lock out Russian hackers

Vladimir Putin - Wikimedia CommonsThe White House is rushing to stop Russian hackers from gaming future US elections before Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump takes over and lets them get away with it.

President Obama wants to implement measures to penalise Russia for allegedly interfering in the US presidential elections. In 2015, the White House announced new economic sanctions, which authorised the Obama administration to punish and prevent foreign hackers who attack US national security and economy.

The National Security Council, the sanctions fall short of providing the current administration enough power to punish the biggest and most controversial cyberattack that hit the Democratic National Committee so now it is trying to work out how to tailor the sanctions to punish the Russian election hackers.

According to reports, one way of striking back at the Russian election hackers would be to declare electoral systems as critical infrastructure and what the Russians did actually harmed it,

The White House is seeking to employ measures that not only provide authority to penalise hackers who harm national security, but also prevent such attacks in the future.

US authorities blame Russian state-sponsored hackers for targeting political parties in efforts to interfere in the elections and help Trump secure a victory. The White House’s allegations were bolstered by US intelligence and the FBI’s analysis of the attacks, which also hold Russia responsible for its interference in the elections.

The worry is that if the Russians think “that worked pretty well” they will try to do it every-time the US has an election until they get the sort of government they want. The fear is that when Trump enters the White House he will abandon any moves to shore up the defenses against Russia because he owes them rather a lot of money.  If the rules are in place before he takes over, it might be more difficult for him to bin them.

Putin likes Sailfish

Vladimir Putin - Wikimedia CommonsJolla’s Sailfish OS appears to have interested Tsar Putin’s Russian Kingdom.

The mobile OS is made by a Finnish company and is being touted as a rival to Android. The open saucy code appears to have attracted the all-seeing eye of Putin who is rather keen to get his nation off its addiction to decadent western technology which is often made by homosexuals.

The government has said it wants to radically reduce its reliance on foreign mobile OSes by half in 2025 vs the 95 percent of the market garnered by Android in 2015. Two OSes were being considered – Sailfish and Tizen. Now Sailfish has achieved domestic certification in Russia for government and corporate use it looks like it has sent its rival Tizen packing.

Sailfish’s local certification in Russia also follows an announcement earlier this year that a new Russian company, Open Mobile Platform (OMP), had licensed the OS with the intention of developing a custom version of the platform for use in the domestic market.

This means that a Russian, strategic ‘Android alternative’ is currently being built on Sailfish.

Trump server secretly communicated with Moscow

trumpuckerSecurity experts claim to have found that a server belonging to Donald Trump was secretly passing messages to a Russian bank with close ties to Putin.

In a rather long winded article the Slate spoke to a security expert who stumbled across  a bank in Moscow that kept irregularly pinging a server registered to the Trump Organisation on Fifth Avenue.

The expert kept logs of the Trump server’s DNS activity and circulatated to his mates in the cybersecurity world to see if they yielded any clues.

Initially they thought it was a malware attack on Trump, but the pattern seemed to fitted human conversation better. The chats seem to begin during office hours in New York and continued during office hours in Moscow.

The researchers worked out that this wasn’t an attack, but a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump Organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa Bank.

Trump’s server had been somewhat strangely configured and, although it was high powered, handled a tiny load of traffic.

When the researchers pinged the server, they received error messages. They concluded that the server was set to accept only incoming communication from a small handful of IP addresses. Some of the logs showed communication with a server belonging to Michigan-based Spectrum Health, but the company said that they had not conducted any communications with either Trump or Alfa Bank.

The security experts noticed that conversation between the Trump and Alfa servers appeared to follow the contours of political happenings in the United States. “At election-related moments, the traffic peaked,” according to Camp. There were considerably more DNS lookups, for instance, during the two conventions.

They passed their notes to DNS expert Paul Vixie, who concluded that the parties were communicating in a secretive fashion using a method like criminal syndicates do if they are putting together a project. In other words, this was a digital hotline connecting the two entities, shutting out the rest of the world, and designed to obscure its own existence.

Alfa Bank is run by a Ukrainian called Mikhail Fridman who is Russia’s second richest bloke and a friend of Putin. He has never been associated with dirty deeds and has a history as being philanthropist.

When the team contacted the bank in Russia, the New York server was suddenly shut down. The bank denied any connection to Trump.

Four days later, on 27 September, the Trump Organisation created a new host name, trump1.contact-client.com, which enabled communication to the very same server via a different route.

Yet the official statement from Trump was that the email server had been set up for marketing purposes and operated by a third-party, has not been used since 2010.

“The current traffic on the server from Alphabank’s [sic] IP address is regular DNS server traffic—not email traffic.  To be clear, The Trump Organization is not sending or receiving any communications from this email server. The Trump Organization has no communication or relationship with this entity or any Russian entity.”


Ukrainian hackers show what Putin is hiding

putin-buzz1While Wikileaks is currently the official organ of the Russian propaganda teams attempts to game the US election, Ukrainian hackers are stepping up to show what Putin is doing.

A Ukrainian group calling itself Cyber Hunta has released more than a gigabyte of emails and other material from the office of one of Vladimir Putin’s top aides, Vladislav Surkov.

It shows Russian fingerprints all over the Ukraine separatist movement, despite Putin’s denials.

The emails show in detail how Russia controlled virtually every detail of the separatist effort in the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, which has torn the country apart and led to a Russian takeover of Crimea.

Surkov has been a close aide to Putin for more than a decade, serving as both deputy prime minister and Putin’s deputy chief of staff. The hacked emails date from 2014 when he was Putin’s behind-the-scenes aide responsible for managing Russia’s most crucial operations.

He guided separatists not just in Ukraine, but in breakaway “republics” in Georgia as well. Surkov himself apparently doesn’t use email but the hackers downloaded the Outlook email accounts of his assistants.

There is a list of casualties in the Donbass region of Ukraine sent from a high-ranking separatist official, and a list of candidates for office in a sham election. One email notes that the individuals with asterisks next to their name were “checked by us” and are “especially recommended.” Days later, those same names were announced as having been “elected”.

One US official told NBC News that the material confirms much of what the US believed was going on at the time. Surkov’s name was the first on a list of Russians and Ukrainians placed under executive sanctions by President Obama in March 2014, citing his role in the separatist movement. The action froze his US assets in the United States and banned him from entering the country. Similar sanctions were imposed by the European Union.

Assange cancels anti-Clinton announcement

Julian AssangeJail bird Julian Assange has been telling the world+dog that he would announce to the world leaked emails that will finish Hillary Clinton’s US presidential campaign on Tuesday.

The leaked emails are believed to have come from the Russian disinformation unit and were given to Wikileaks as part of the Russian bid to get its tax-dodging Donald Trump into the White House. They prefer Trump to Clinton because he appears to owe rather a lot to Russian oligarchs.

However, Assange suddenly cancelled the announcement, which he was going to make from the balcony of London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, because of “security concerns”.  Assange is going to speak to a conference by a live link tomorrow but it does not look like the emails are on the agenda there either. Odd really how “security concerns” can stop a leak of information.  It might stop the presentation of information but not a leak. All Assange has to do is film a video and put it on the internet along with the documents.

Last month Assange appeared on Fox News repeating his assertion that Wikileaks has damaging documents on Clinton and suggested WikiLeaks may soon release “teasers.” However more than three weeks later, that release has yet to take place.

Wikileaks has not said when it will now make its “announcement.”  But word on the street is that the information does not really exist and it is starting to look like Assange was making the whole lot up to draw attention to him during the US election. After all Fox news would put him on air if he says he has dirt on Clinton. It now appears that he never had any emails at all, or his Russian overlords failed to deliver.

Putin’s hackers target the Olympic doping committee

putin gunThe Tsar of all the Russias, Vladimir Putin, has ordered his hackers to take time out from getting his mate Donald Trump elected to wreck a terrible revenge on the Olympic doping committee for disqualifying most of the Russian athletes in the Rio Olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) claimed that  Russian hackers gained access to its database and viewed information on athletes involved in this year’s Olympic games. The agency is certain that Putin’s state-sponsored group Fancy Bear crew is behind the attack.

The accessed data included medical information, like Therapeutic Use Exemptions issued by International Sports Federations and National Anti-Doping Organizations. The group has reportedly released some of this data and threatened to release more.

It was not a direct attack. The attackers used spear phishing emails to gain access to the database and eventually used credentials specifically made for the Rio Olympic games. Since the incident, WADA is conducting vulnerability tests and bringing in law enforcement to conduct an investigation.

Fancy Bear was also reported as the group behind this summer’s attack on the Democratic National Committee. In that case, three security firms independently verified the attribution and concluded the attack’s motives related to Russia and the country’s interests.

It is believed that the attack might be revenge for the doping scandal, with the hackers seeking to prove that the world is against Russia because it is really great.

US investigates Russian plot to game the election

russian-villagersUS intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to make the population distrust the coming election.

The Russian campaign, which incorporates ­cyber-tools to hack systems used in the political process, and enhance Russia’s ability to spread disinformation.

The US operating is being coordinated by James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence as a sign that the US is really worried about the Russian influence operation in the United States.

Officials also are examining potential disruptions to the election process, and the FBI has alerted state and local officials to potential cyber threats.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he doesn’t know who was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, but it was important the information had been made public.

In fact some US spooks do not think Putin wants to sway the election in one direction or another. Instead he just wants to cause chaos and provide propaganda fodder to attack U.S. democracy-building policies around the world, particularly areas which used to be controlled by the Soviet Union.

Some congressional leaders briefed recently by the intelligence agencies on Russian influence operations in Europe, and how they may serve as a template for activities in the United States, were disturbed by what they heard.

Putin’s hackers practice gaming the US election

putin gunIt seems that hackers with links to Tsar Putin, are practising making sure that Donald Trump is elected by tampering with the electronic voting systems.

The FBI has warned that Arizona and Illinois voter registration systems were infiltrated by foreign hackers who downloaded personal data on up to 200,000 voters.

The Untouchables have warned US election officials to increase computer security measures after it uncovered evidence that hackers have targeted two state election databases in recent weeks,

Citing a state election board official, Yahoo News said the Illinois voter registration system was shut down for 10 days in late July after hackers downloaded personal data on up to 200,000 voters.

The Arizona attack was more limited and involved introducing malicious software into the voter registration system, Yahoo News quoted a state official as saying. No data was removed in that attack, the official said.

US intelligence officials have become increasingly worried that hackers sponsored by Russia or other countries may attempt to disrupt the November presidential election.  Donald Trump owes a lot of cash to Russian oligarchs so it would be helpful to Tsar Putin to have someone in the White House who does what he is told.

Officials and cybersecurity experts say recent breaches at the Democratic National Committee and elsewhere in the Democratic party were likely carried out by people within the Russian government. Kremlin officials have denied the allegations of Moscow’s involvement.

Concerns about election computer security prompted the homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson, to convene a conference call with state election officials earlier this month, to offer help in making their voting systems more secure.