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Threat Intelligence

1/6/2017
04:35 PM
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Putin Directed Cyberattack, Propaganda Operation To Influence US Election

US Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases unclassified version of intel community's findings on Russia's attempts to influence US presidential race via cyberattacks, leaks, and pure propaganda.

Russian president Vladimir Putin "ordered" a wide-ranging effort to disrupt and influence the outcome of the 2016 US presidential campaign in favor of President-Elect Donald Trump, according to an unclassified report published today by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

The operation included cyber espionage attacks against policy groups, US primary campaigns, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2015, as well as propaganda and online "troll" activity that included fake news meant to influence public opinion. The ODNI report said that the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, aka the GRU, appears to have joined the activity around March of 2016. "We assess that the GRU operations resulted in the compromise of the personal e-mail accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures. By May, the GRU had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC," the report said.

And the infamous "Guccifer 2.0" persona who then provided the stolen information to WikiLeaks, was actually a persona used by the GRU, the report said. 

"We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments," the report said.

"We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence."

The report also confirmed that Russian intelligence acquired intel on multiple US state and local electoral boards. "Since early 2014, Russian intelligence has researched US electoral processes and related technology and equipment. DHS assesses that the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying," according to the report.

Intel officials said in the report that the Russian GRU also was behind the cyberattack and leak of data on US athletes from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) database. The unclassified ODNI report, "Background to 'Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections': The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution," is available for download.

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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SimnI923
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SimnI923,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/7/2017 | 3:52:36 PM
NO VETTED DATA that Putin Directed Cyberattacks to Influence US Election
It is difficult to assess the veracity of "findings" by 4 million Security Clearances of Intelligence Community personnel. What is evident is the past history of IC input that comes out of a bloated bureaucracy whose mission is only for self-preservation and growing budgets for past failures. This point of an administrative bureaucracy cannot be overstated. Probably the best example is how well the IC is utilized to promote and further an agenda. To wit, George W. Bush believed the IC community briefings of documented Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. He used this "Intel" for the Iraq War and commitment of American lives to bring Suddam Hussein to justice. The result? George was forever branded as "stupid" and Barack Hussein's agenda became the mainstream talking point as the "savior" of America! So, what makes you think the IC has changed its ways? This is their agenda to make President Trump into another "convenient idiot."
BPID
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BPID,
User Rank: Strategist
1/7/2017 | 6:38:12 PM
"We assess" is not proof
Gee, when your boss it the president and says: "find someone to blame", everyone lock steps. "We assess..." is a CYA which means "we anin't got nothing but we are supporting our boss and it 'looks like Russia'"

 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Ninja
1/10/2017 | 2:06:50 PM
Putin likes (our) democracy for the options it offers him
Putin is a better student of democracy than those who take it for granted. He understands what new tools are available to sow disinformation and is skilled at using them. One need not establish a lie as truth for it to have a compromising effect. One need only create doubt and disunion. The people who excuse the attempt as inconsequential do not understand the new risks now in play for us. In a crisis induced by Russia, it will be harder to know who to believe through its skillful manipulation of fact and sources from which we are habituated to use for getting information.
dbrown15001
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dbrown15001,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/19/2017 | 10:24:34 AM
Re: Putin likes (our) democracy for the options it offers him
Whether Putin did or did not do it does not matter. 

Just look at the history of East-West relations and actions and that will tell you that you should have expected him too.

Duh!

The amazing part is just how effective the operation has been. 

Look at how many elected officials have cut themselves and their constituents off from full participation in the US government. How many are proudly sitting out the inaugural events? How many are planning to disrupt the events?

How many doubt the Intelligence Community's words?

How many news organizations have alienated themselves from being able to gain information about the incoming government?   Finally, how many people doubt the truthfulness of these new organizations?

I would say, that from the attacker's viewpoint it is "Mission Accomplished!"

It is like two men fighting in a boat in the middle of the ocean and each shooting holes in the bottom.

Simply amazing.

 
lr2003
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lr2003,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/31/2017 | 2:19:42 PM
Re: NO VETTED DATA that Putin Directed Cyberattacks to Influence US Election
The only reason we are sure Russia is trying to influence our election is because we influence elections all over the world with no repercussions. We are bullies and we are extremely secretive in everything we do. So, we can only imagine that the rest of the world is the same as we are. 
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