2016 US Russian cyber conflict
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In 2016, Jeh Johnson the United States Secretary of Homeland Security and James Clapper the U.S. Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement accusing Russia of interfering with the 2016 United States presidential election. The New York Times reported the Obama administration has formally accused Russia of stealing and disclosing Democratic National Committee emails. Under U.S. law (50 U.S.C.Title 50 - War and National Defense, Chapter 15 - National Security, Subchapter III Accountability for Intelligence Activities ) there must be a formal Presidential finding prior to authorizing a covert attack.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on the American news interview program Meet The Press that the United States will respond. The New York Times noted that Biden's comment "seems to suggest that Mr. Obama is prepared to order — or has already ordered — some kind of covert action"
- 1 US action and reaction
- 2 Russian action and reaction
- 3 See also
- 4 References
US action and reaction
WikiLeaks founder cut off Internet
On October 18, 2016 Ecuador acknowledged it "temporarily restricted" WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's internet access at Embassy of Ecuador, London. WikiLeaks accused U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry of asking Ecuador to shut down Julian Assange's internet connection. Kerry immediately denied involvement issuing the the following statement through his spokesperson: While our concerns about Wikileaks are longstanding, any suggestion that Secretary Kerry or the State Department were involved in shutting down Wikileaks is false. Reports that Secretary Kerry had conversations with Ecuadorian officials about this are simply untrue. Period.  Despite the denials of John Kerry, it was reported that US intelligence officials privately confirmed their influence on severing Assange's Internet connection. A senior intelligence official told NBC News that "It was a bit of an eviction notice." Since the incident, Ecuador reaffirmed asylum for Assange.
Leading private security firm analyzes Russian strategy
- I think it's actually very insidious. They're trying to influence the [election] process, and get a percentage of the American public to actually disbelieve that the process and is free and fair. They are trying to, and they've been putting out statements to this effect for a number of months now, [shape beliefs] that the election is rigged, that the process is rigged, that the elites in Washington are sort of corrupt, and the leaks that they've been putting out, the emails and the documents, they're trying to make the case that this all confirms that. This is helpful for president Putin for two reasons: one, it weakens whoever gets elected and becomes the American president, which is always good for Russia. Then, it domestically it helps him, because whenever he's criticized for running rigged elections he can point to the United States and say, see, they can’t run a free and fair election either, they are living in a glass house and throwing stones.
He further commented on the US response.
- What’s been encouraging is there has been a bipartisan support now in Congress, with both Democrats and Republicans standing up and saying this is not acceptable; Russia is trying to influence our election, cast doubt on the entire process. We cannot stand for this.
Lastly, he speculated on what might happen after the election.
- It's almost impossible for them to actually influence the result, but it's not impossible for them to get the American public, a percentage of the American public, to believe that the results have been influenced and I believe that is their end goal. I think it's very likely that on the day after the election we will see some sort of statement coming out from these actors who have been affiliated with the Russians, whether its DC Leaks or this Guccifer 2.0 persona coming out and saying do not trust the result, whoever is elected is not a legitimate president because we have hacked machines in Miami Dade County, or Columbus Ohio whatever.
Former Secretary of State comment
- What is really important about WikiLeaks is that the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans. They have hacked American websites, American accounts of private people, of institutions. Then they have given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet. This has come from the highest levels of the Russian government. Clearly from Putin himself in an effort, as 17 of our intelligence agencies have confirmed, to influence our election.
Russian Foreign Ministry site hacked, American hacker 'The Jester' claims responsibility
Sputniknews confirmed the Russian Foreign Ministry main website was hacked. The Jester (hacktivist) claimed responsibility, including announcing the hack on Twitter (user @th3j35t3r) at 2:32pm on October 22, 2016. At that time the Jester had over 77,000 followers on Twitter including many major media reporters. The only major media that carried the story (as Sunday October 2016 at Noon) was CNN - American vigilante hacker sends Russia a warning. The story also broke also on the BBC but was swiftly pulled. The content warned Russia to stop hacking the U.S. elections and attributed the Dyn.com distributed denial of service attack—which occurred the day before and blocked a significant portion of US Internet traffic using Mirai (malware)—to a Russian controlled group identified as New World Hackers. A Cross-site scripting injection was reportedly used to replace the official web page with a hacked one. The hacked page also contained additional encoded messages.
Russian action and reaction
Reaction to Biden's announcement the US will retaliate
On Sunday October 16, 2016 after attending a summit meeting of the nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS Summit), Russian president Vladimir Putin made extensive comments on Ruptly TV in response to Biden's comments.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian TV RIA Novosti: "The fact is, US unpredictability and aggression keep growing, and such threats against Moscow and our country’s leadership are unprecedented, because the threat is being announced at the level of the US Vice President. Of course, given such an aggressive, unpredictable line, we have to take measures to protect our interests, somehow hedge the risks...such unpredictability is dangerous for the whole world."
Russia's offer to monitor the U.S. election
Amid ferment that the 2016 U.S. elections may be rigged, Russian media Izvestia and RT announced that Russia offered to send monitors to individual U.S. polling stations to insure its integrity. U.S. Officials declined.
Hacking strategy and technology
- Kompromat Russian for "compromising material"
- APT29 a/k/a Cozy Bear
- Cyberwarfare in Russia
- Cyberwarfare in the United States
- Equation Group
- Fancy Bear a/k/a APT28
- Proactive cyber defence
- The Shadow Brokers
- 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak
- Donna Brazile Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman
- Colin Powell Former Secretary of State
- Democratic National Committee cyber attacks
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairwoman for Clinton's campaign
- John McCain Republican Senator (2016 campaign staffers hacked)
- Lindsey Graham Republican Senator
- Michele Bachmann Republican Senator
- Mossack Fonseca Panamanian law firm (95% of their work was selling vehicles to avoid taxes) confidential information on 214,488 offshore entities.
- Philip Breedlove four-star General, recent NATO supreme commander in Europe
- John Podesta Clinton's campaign manager.
- George Soros Billionaire
- Hillary Clinton Private email server used for personal and Secretary of State correspondence and materials
Primary state security agencies
- Federal Security Service
- GCHQ British intelligence
- NSA US National Security Agency
- FSB Successor to the KGB in Russia
- GRU Russia's premier military intelligence organization
- Tailored Access Operations cyber-warfare intelligence-gathering unit inside National Security Agency
Primary private security firms
First publishers of stolen materials – top tier
First publishers of stolen of stolen materials – secondary tier
- "Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security". Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security. October 7, 2016. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2016/10/07/joint-statement-department-homeland-security-and-office-director-national. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- "U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections". NYT. Oct 7, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/08/us/politics/us-formally-accuses-russia-of-stealing-dnc-emails.html?_r=0.
- "Presidential approval and reporting of covert actions". United States Code. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2009-title50/html/USCODE-2009-title50-chap15-subchapIII-sec413b.htm. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
- "VP Biden Promises Response to Russian Hacking". NBC News Meet the Press. Oct 14, 2016. http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/vp-biden-on-russia-and-cyber-warfare-786308675872.
- "Biden Hints at U.S. Response to Russia for Cyberattacks". NYT. Oct 15, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/us/politics/biden-hints-at-us-response-to-cyberattacks-blamed-on-russia.html.
- "Ecuador: We have 'temporarily restricted' Assange's interne". AP. October 18, 2016. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/6f997f97c5f140a29f385ea05f1b642c/wikileaks-assanges-internet-link-severed-state-actor.
- "Wikileaks accuses John Kerry and the US of pressuring Ecuador into cutting off Julian Assange's internet connection after Hillary email leak - but the State Department denies it". Daily Mail UK. October 8, 2016. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3845836/Ecuador-cuts-Julian-Assanges-internet-access-WikiLeaks.html.
- "State Dept. denies John Kerry involved in WikiLeaks Internet disruption". USA Today. Oct 18, 2016. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/10/17/wikileaks-claims-state-sabotage-assange-internet/92259888/.
- ""U.S. Urged Ecuador to Act Against WikiLeaks Leader Assange"". NBCNews. October 20, 2016. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-urged-ecuador-act-against-assange-n669271. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
- "Official Communiqué". Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana > news > Foreign Policy > Official Communiqué. gob.ec. October 18, 2016. http://www.cancilleria.gob.ec/en/official-communique_2/.
- "FBI helps catch Russian hacker in Czech Republic". CBS News. Oct 19, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHx7CBc0Bgg.
- "Full transcript: Third 2016 presidential debate". http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/full-transcript-third-2016-presidential-debate-230063. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
- "Russian Foreign Ministry Confirms Site Hacked, US 'Jester' Claims Responsibility". Russian Foreign Ministry. sputniknews. October 23, 2016. https://sputniknews.com/science/201610231046639282-russian-foreign-ministry-hack/11. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- "American vigilante hacker sends Russia a warning". CNN. October 22, 2016. http://money.cnn.com/2016/10/22/technology/russian-foreign-ministry-hacked/index.html.
- "The Jester hacks Russia, or not". Go Blindley. October 23, 2016. https://gobling.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/the-jester-hacks-russia-or-not/#more-9014. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- "2016 PUTIN's PRESS CONFERENCE IN INDIA GOA: US spying activities incompatible with international norms". Ruptly. October 16, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eQSW9Nr0yA.
- "Kremlin: Russia faces unprecedented cyber-threats from the US". https://www.rt.com/news/362868-kremlin-cyberattack-threats-us/. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- "Amid 'rigged' election charges, Russia wants to monitor U.S. vote". USA Today. Oct 21, 2016. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/10/20/amid-rigged-election-charges-russia-wants-monitor-us-vote/92456558/.