Tag Archives: Russian hacking

‘Russiagate’ is failing and its supporters are getting worried, by Alexander Mercouris

The wonder is not that “Russiagate” is failing, but that it has been kept alive as long as it has. From Alexander Mercouris at theduran.com:

Three weeks ago I wrote a piece for The Duran in which I suggested that the corner appeared to have been turned in the fake ‘Russiagate’ scandal.

What was a tentative conclusion then can now be firmed up.

Though the leaders of the US security services have denied the President’s allegation that they wire-tapped him – though they were careful not to deny that they mounted surveillance on him and his associates – the President’s claim that they did, in effect smoked them out.

Thus former DNI James Clapper admitted that he had seen no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians up to the point of his retirement on 20th January 2017, and former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell more recently has publicly trashed the whole story of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Possibly the single most important admission that no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians has been found came however from within the FBI itself, though it has gone almost completely unnoticed.

This came in the form of information deriving from an anonymous leak which appeared in an article in The New York Times on 5th March 2017. This leak almost certainly originated with FBI Director James Comey himself. The relevant sentence in the article reads as follows

In addition to being concerned about potential attacks on the bureau’s credibility, senior F.B.I. officials are said to be worried that the notion of a court-approved wiretap will raise the public’s expectations that the federal authorities have significant evidence implicating the Trump campaign in colluding with Russia’s efforts to disrupt the presidential election.
(bold italics added)

To continue reading: ‘Russiagate’ is failing and its supporters are getting worried

A Cyber-Gulf of Tonkin, by Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo puts the final nail in the coffin of the Russian hacking story. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

There was no “Russian hacking” of the 2016 election

The “cyber-security” firm that everyone is depending on to make the case for Russia’s alleged “hacking” of the 2016 presidential election, CrowdStrike, has just retracted a key component of its analysis – but the “mainstream” media continues to chug along, ignoring any facts that contradict their preferred narrative.

As Voice of America – hardly an instrument of Russian propaganda! – reports:

“U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of Russian hacking during last year’s American presidential election campaign. The shift followed a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank.”

This retraction pulls the rug out from under CrowdStrike’s identification of the hacking group that supposedly broke into the Democratic National Committee’s server. Last year, the company announced that “Fancy Bear” – the name they gave to the hackers – had used identical tools and methods to hack into software used by the Ukrainian military, an act they claimed led to the destruction of 80% of the Ukrainians’ howitzers in their war with rebel forces. Up until that point, CrowdStrike had merely “suspected” that the Russians were behind the DNC hack. However, given the Ukrainian “evidence,” combined with the assumption that the rebels are “Russian-backed,” CrowdStrike head honcho Dmitri Alpervovitch told the Washington Post: “Now we have high confidence it was a unit of the GRU,” i.e. Russian military intelligence.

Their retraction means that “high confidence” has been considerably lowered down to the level of a mere “suspicion.” Forced to backtrack in light of VOA’s definitive takedown, CrowdStrike’s whole case collapses. Despite dubbing the alleged hackers with the nom de guerre of “Fancy Bear” – as in the Russian bear – the evidence that supposedly identifies whoever broke into the DNC servers as GRU agents is virtually nonexistent. And the remaining “evidence” is hardly impressive. As cyber-security expert James Bamford pointed out:

“Last summer, cyber investigators plowing through the thousands of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee uncovered a clue.

“A user named ‘Феликс Эдмундович’ modified one of the documents using settings in the Russian language. Translated, his name was Felix Edmundovich, a pseudonym referring to Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, the chief of the Soviet Union’s first secret-police organization, the Cheka.”

To continue reading: A Cyber-Gulf of Tonkin

You Will Never Hear These Truths Discussed In The Mainstream, by Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith believes a variety of obvious truths are being ignored. It’s hard to argue against the ones he cites. From Smith at alt-market.com:

The general public truly lives in two separate worlds. We have the world of the mainstream media, popular culture and political rhetoric; a world which constantly and desperately seeks to twist or destroy any legitimate measure of reality, leading people into a frenzied fog. Then, we have the world of concrete facts; an ugly, brutal world that upsets many people when they see it and leaves them with little more than the hope that the most innovative of us will perhaps reverse the disastrous course, or at least, survive to carry on a meaningful level of civilization.

The sad thing is, if a majority of the population studied and accepted the world of fact, then preparation and intelligent or aggressive action might negate any destructive outcome. Reality only grows more ugly because we continue to ignore it.

Have you ever come to a logical or practical conclusion in response to a national or global problem and waited in vain to hear it represented in the mainstream? Have you ever thought — if I can figure this out, why can’t they? And by “they,” I mean the people most commonly offered a mainstream platform. This includes so called “professional journalists,” political leaders, mainstream economists, highly paid “analysts,” etc. Well, I think more and more Americans in particular are finally considering the notion that these “professionals” are either not very smart, or they have an agenda that seeks to perpetuate the problem rather than fix the problem.

Yes, the intellectual class, the longtime gatekeepers of public thought and consent, are actually mostly morons and/or liars with a terrible purpose in mind. I understand that this does not come as a surprise to many of my readers, but remember, the masses are still trapped in a stupefying fog. The goal here is to bring just a few more of them out of the doldrums whenever possible.

To continue reading: You Will Never Hear These Truths Discussed In The Mainstream

 

CrowdStike Revises and Retracts Parts of Explosive Russian Hacking Report, by Michael Krieger

The “proof” that Russia hacked into the DNC last year has fallen apart. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Last week, I published two posts on cyber security firm CrowdStrike after becoming aware of inaccuracies in one of its key reports used to bolster the claim that operatives of the Russian government had hacked into the DNC. This is extremely important since the DNC hired CrowdStrike to look into its hack, and at the same time denied FBI access to its servers.

Before reading any further, you should read last week’s articles if you missed them the first time.

Credibility of Cyber Firm that Claimed Russia Hacked the DNC Comes Under Serious Question

What is CrowdStrike? Firm Hired by DNC has Ties to Hillary Clinton, a Ukrainian Billionaire and Google

Now here are the latest developments courtesy of Voice of America:

U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of Russian hacking during last year’s American presidential election campaign. The shift followed a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank.

In December, CrowdStrike said it found evidence that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, contributing to heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s war with pro-Russian separatists.

VOA reported Tuesday that the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which publishes an annual reference estimating the strength of world armed forces, disavowed the CrowdStrike report and said it had never been contacted by the company.

CrowdStrike was first to link hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors last year, but some cybersecurity experts have questioned its evidence. The company has come under fire from some Republicans who say charges of Kremlin meddling in the election are overblown.

After CrowdStrike released its Ukraine report, company co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch claimed it provided added evidence of Russian election interference. In both hacks, he said, the company found malware used by “Fancy Bear,” a group with ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

CrowdStrike’s claims of heavy Ukrainian artillery losses were widely circulated in U.S. media.

On Thursday, CrowdStrike walked back key parts of its Ukraine report.

To continue reading: CrowdStike Revises and Retracts Parts of Explosive Russian Hacking Report

Rush to Judgment, by Justin Raimondo

The Russian intelligence “hacking” of the Democratic National Committee has been accepted as fact by all good Democrats. There are, however, a multitude of problems with the attribution. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The allegation – now accepted as incontrovertible fact by the “mainstream” media – that the Russian intelligence services hacked the Democratic National Committee (and John Podesta’s emails) in an effort to help Donald Trump get elected recently suffered a blow from which it may not recover.

Crowdstrike is the cybersecurity company hired by the DNC to determine who hacked their accounts: it took them a single day to determine the identity of the culprits – it was, they said, two groups of hackers which they named “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear,” affiliated respectively with the GRU, which is Russian military intelligence, and the FSB, the Russian security service.

How did they know this?

These alleged “hacker groups” are not associated with any known individuals in any way connected to Russian intelligence: instead, they are identified by the tools they use, the times they do their dirty work, the nature of the targets, and other characteristics based on the history of past intrusions.

Yet as Jeffrey Carr and other cyberwarfare experts have pointed out, this methodology is fatally flawed. “It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method,” writes Carr:

“Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong. Neither are claims of attribution admissible in any criminal case, so those who make the claim don’t have to abide by any rules of evidence (i.e., hearsay, relevance, admissibility).”

Likening attribution claims of hacking incidents by cybersecurity companies to intelligence assessments, Carr notes that, unlike government agencies such the CIA, these companies are never held to account for their misses:

“When it comes to cybersecurity estimates of attribution, no one holds the company that makes the claim accountable because there’s no way to prove whether the assignment of attribution is true or false unless (1) there is a criminal conviction, (2) the hacker is caught in the act, or (3) a government employee leaked the evidence.”

This lack of accountability may be changing, however, because Crowdstrike’s case for attributing the hacking of the DNC to the Russians is falling apart at the seams like a cheap sweater.

To continue reading: Rush to Judgment

The FBI’s Conspiracy Theory of a Trump/Putin Collusion Has No Clothes, Paul Craig Roberts

As they say in Texas, this dog of a Trump/Putin conspiracy just won’t hunt. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

Unable to provide an ounce of evidence that a Trump/Putin conspiracy stole the presidential election from Hillary Clinton, the corrupt US “intelligence” agencies are shifting their focus to social media and to Internet sites such as Alex Jones and Breitbart. Little doubt the FBI investigation will trickle down to Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept, Zero Hedge, the Ron Paul Institute, Nomi Prins, Naked Capitalism, Lew Rockwell, Global Research, antiwar.com, and to others on the PropOrNot, Harvard Library, and Le Monde lists, such as top Reagan administration officials David Stockman and myself. It is extraordinary that the FBI is so desperate to protect the budget of the military/security complex that it brings such embarrassment to itself. Who in the future will believe any FBI report or anything a FBI official says?

Those behind this “investigation” understand that it is so ridiculous that they must give it gravity and credibility. They selected two reporters, Peter Stone and Greg Gordon, in the McClatchy News Washington Bureau, who fit Udo Ulfkotte’s definition of “bought journalists.” Hiding behind anonymous sources—“two people familiar with the inquiry” and “sources who spoke on condition of anonymity”—the presstitutes fell in with the attack on independent media, reporting that one former US intelligence official said: “This may be one of the most highly impactful information operations in the history of intelligence.” http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article139695453.html

Wow! A totally ridiculous “investigation” is one of the most important in history. The implication is that the Russians are operating through scores or hundreds of independent media sites to control how Americans vote.

There was once a time in America when people were skeptical of anonymous sources. It was widely understood that anyone could tell a reporter anything and that a reporter could claim an anonymous source whether or not the source existed. Perhaps it was the Watergate “investigation” by the Washington Post that gave anonymity credibility. The Post’s reports made it sound like any sources ratting on Nixon’s perfidy was at risk of their lives, and the subtle emphasis on risk gave anonymity credibility.

To continue reading: The FBI’s Conspiracy Theory of a Trump/Putin Collusion Has No Clothes

Credibility of Cyber Firm that Claimed Russia Hacked the DNC Comes Under Serious Question, by Michael Krieger

The “Under Serious Question” in the title is too charitable to Creditstrike, the firm that found “Russian hackers” responsible for last year’s DNC hack. Creditstrike was a private firm hired by the DNC to find that conncection, but the DNC refused to turn its computers over to the FBI and let them investigate, and potentially confirm, Creditstrike’s conclusion. So Creditstrike didn’t have much credibility to begin with, and this newest disclosure destroys what little it had. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Before I get to the meat of this post, we need to revisit a little history. The cyber security firm hired to inspect the DNC hack and determine who was responsible is a firm called Crowdstrike. Its conclusion that Russia was responsible was released in December of last year, and many people immediately called its analysis (and the U.S. government’s) into question.

Jeffrey Carr was one of the most prominent cynics, and as he noted in his post, FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report: A Fatally Flawed Effort:

The FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report (JAR) “Grizzly Steppe” was released yesterday as part of the White House’s response to alleged Russian government interference in the 2016 election process. It adds nothing to the call for evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC, the DCCC, the email accounts of Democratic party officials, or for delivering the content of those hacks to Wikileaks.

It merely listed every threat group ever reported on by a commercial cybersecurity company that is suspected of being Russian-made and lumped them under the heading of Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) without providing any supporting evidence that such a connection exists.

Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words — malware deployed is malware enjoyed!

To continue reading: Credibility of Cyber Firm that Claimed Russia Hacked the DNC Comes Under Serious Question

 

A Demand for Russian ‘Hacking’ Proof, by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

More than 20 US intelligence, military, and diplomatic veterans are calling on President Obama to put up or shut up. From VIPS at antiwar.com:

More than 20 U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic veterans are calling on President Obama to release the evidence backing up allegations that Russia aided the Trump campaign – or admit that the proof is lacking

MEMORANDUM FOR: President Barack Obama
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: A Key Issue That Still Needs to be Resolved

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take the oath of office Friday, a pall hangs over his upcoming presidency amid an unprecedentedly concerted campaign to delegitimize it. Unconfirmed accusations continue to swirl alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized “Russian hacking” that helped put Mr. Trump in the White House.

As President for a few more days, you have the power to demand concrete evidence of a link between the Russians and WikiLeaks, which published the bulk of the information in question. Lacking that evidence, the American people should be told that there is no fire under the smoke and mirrors of recent weeks.

We urge you to authorize public release of any tangible evidence that takes us beyond the unsubstantiated, “we-assess” judgments by the intelligence agencies. Otherwise, we – as well as other skeptical Americans – will be left with the corrosive suspicion that the intense campaign of accusations is part of a wider attempt to discredit the Russians and those – like Mr. Trump – who wish to deal constructively with them.

Remember the Maine?

Alleged Russian interference has been labeled “an act of war” and Mr. Trump a “traitor.” But the “intelligence” served up to support those charges does not pass the smell test. Your press conference on Wednesday will give you a chance to respond more persuasively to NBC’s Peter Alexander’s challenge at the last one (on Dec. 16) “to show the proof [and], as they say, put your money where your mouth is and declassify some of the intelligence. …”

To continue reading: A Demand for Russian ‘Hacking’ Proof

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Have No Clothes, by Michael Krieger

Like the naked emperor, the US intelligence agencies have existentially embarrassed themselves. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

The true patriotism, the only rational patriotism is loyalty to the nation all the time, loyalty to the government when it deserves it.

– Mark Twain, The Czar’s Soliloquy”

At this point, pretty much everyone in America has seen the results of Hillary Clinton media pet, John Harwood’s recent Twitter poll.

Who do you believe America?

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 6, 2017

The significance of the above cannot be overstated. U.S. intelligence agencies, like so many other national institutions, have lost nearly all credibility in the eyes of the American public. The list is long, but includes economists, politicians, the mainstream media, central bankers, the financial system, and a lot more. The loss in credibility is well deserved and has nothing to do with Russia. Rather, it’s a function of a disastrous 21st century outcome for U.S. citizens both at home and abroad. A result that was achieved under eight years of Republican rule and then eight years of Democratic rule. The results were the same whether a donkey or elephant was in charge, because the people determining policy behind the scenes never really changed (same economists, central bankers, intelligence officials, etc), and the people selling the catastrophic policies to the public definitely never changes (mainstream media and its worthless pundits).

So here we stand at a moment where trust in essentially all U.S. institutions is at a well deserved all-time low, and the best the establishment can come up with is to blame Russia. Even worse, those pushing the whole “Putin is to blame for everything” conspiracy theories, consistently refuse to back up their assertions with any evidence whatsoever. In fact, with each passing week the case looks increasingly flimsy, with the latest declassified document issued Friday being particularly suspect. Even many of those largely convinced of Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election admit the most recent report was pathetic, embarrassing and proved absolutely nothing.

To continue reading: U.S. Intelligence Agencies Have No Clothes

Is That All There Is? Intel Community Releases Its Russia ‘Hacking’ Report, by Daniel McAdams

Daniel McAdams takes a shotgun to the Intelligence Community report on Russian hacking of the US election, putting smore holes in it than it already had. Intelligence community “confidence” impresses a lot fewer people than it used to. From McAdams at antiwar.com:

The much-anticipated Intelligence Community report backing up its claims that the Russians hacked the US elections in November has just been released. Titled “Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” the report is long on speculation and short on any evidence for the claims it was supposed to prove. It even came with a warning label stating that though the conclusions are reached with “high confidence,” that “does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments may be wrong.” We who lived through the 2002 “high confidence” in Iraqi WMDs remember this possibility well.

According to the report, the Russians conducted “cyber operations” against both major US political parties, used the Romanian hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, who they claim is “likely” Russian, “maintained access” to local electoral boards but “were not involved” in vote tallying, and used Russian state-run media to influence voters to vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

The Intelligence Community Assessment does not offer any evidence of Russian hacking of the DNC and thus provides nothing new to back its claims. Rather than explain the means used by the Russians to “hack” the US elections, the Assessment instead devotes most of the report to speculating about possible Russian motives for so doing. Thus it appears more a diversionary maneuver to compensate for bringing a whole lot of nothing new to the table.

To continue reading: Is That All There Is? Intel Community Releases Its Russia ‘Hacking’ Report