Mueller probe enters second year; Russia’s hybrid threats; Russia hijacks teen girls’ computers, and more | Homeland Security Newswire

The Russia watchMueller probe enters second year; Russia’s hybrid threats; Russia hijacks teen girls’ computers, and more

Published 16 May 2018

· European spy chiefs warn of “hybrid threats”

· Russian troll farm hijacked American teen girls’ computers for Likes

· “Buckle up”: As Mueller probe enters second year, Trump and allies go on war footing

· Could a U.S. state sue Russia for election-related hacking under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction?

· Michael Cohen’s meetings with Michael Flynn and a Qatari diplomat might be the key to unlocking the Steele Dossier

· When spies hack journalism

· Russians claiming to represent IS threatened U.S. military wives

· Hackers tried to breach a Tennessee county server on election night: Report

· In Putin’s fourth term, what—if anything—threatens his control?

European spy chiefs warn of “hybrid threats” from Russia (AP)
The heads of Britain and Germany’s domestic intelligence agencies pinpointed Moscow as the prime source of hybrid threats to Europe, citing attempts to manipulate elections, steal sensitive data and spark a coup in Montenegro.

Russian troll farm hijacked American teen girls’ computers for Likes (Kevin Poulsen, Daily Beast)
Google says the extension has been removed ‘from every user’s computer,’ but a Daily Beast examination found otherwise.

“Buckle up”: As Mueller probe enters second year, Trump and allies go on war footing (Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker, Tom Hamburger, Robert Costa, and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post)
The Mueller operation, like the former Marine Corps platoon commander who leads it, is secretive and methodical. Ten blocks west in the White House, President Trump combats the probe with bluster, disarray and defiance as he scrambles for survival.
Many Trump aides and associates say they are confident the president will be exonerated. But they privately express worries that the probe may yet ensnare more figures in Trump’s orbit, including family members. There is particular worry about Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and a senior adviser.

Could a U.S. state sue Russia for election-related hacking under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction? (Ingrid Wuerth, Lawfare)
The Senate intelligence committee has said that a small number of states had their election computer defenses breached by Russian hackers in 2016. Assume, as the report writes, that those hackers were linked to the Russian government. Could the states whose systems were breached sue Russia under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction?

Michael Cohen’s meetings with Michael Flynn and a Qatari diplomat might be the key to unlocking the Steele Dossier (Jeremy Stahl, Slate)
What were all of these men doing together at the same time in Trump Tower in December 2016?

When spies hack journalism (Scott Shane, New York Times)
For decades, leakers of confidential information to the press were a genus that included many species: the government worker infuriated by wrongdoing, the ideologue pushing a particular line, the politico out to savage an opponent.
But now this disparate cast has been joined by a very different sort of large-scale leaker, more stealthy and better funded: the intelligence services of nation states, which hack into troves of documents and then use a proxy to release them. What Russian intelligence did with shocking success to the Democrats in 2016 shows every promise of becoming a common tool of spycraft around the world.

Russians claiming to represent IS threatened U.S. military wives (VOA)
The Associated Press says it has found evidence that the women were targeted by a Russian group known for attacking computers. It reportedly is the same group that was active during the U.S. presidential election campaign two years ago. The Russian hackers released emails from John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential election campaign. The operation is similar to the online campaign by Russian hackers to spread false information in the months before the 2016 elections.
Links between CyberCaliphate and the Russian hackers, often called “Fancy Bear” or “APT28,” have been documented earlier in both the U.S. and Europe. But this information had not been shared with the women involved. Many of the women believed they had been targeted by Islamic State supporters.

Hackers tried to breach a Tennessee county server on election night: Report (Sam Levine, Huffington Post)
Investigators traced IP addresses linked to the attack to foreign countries.

In Putin’s fourth term, what—if anything—threatens his control? (Steve Hall, Cipher Brief)
On May 7, Vladimir Putin was inaugurated for his fourth six-year term as President of Russia. He gained more than 76 percent of the vote and—despite concerns over the legitimacy of the vote—does enjoy high levels of support from the Russian population. But is Putin’s grip on power as ironclad as it seems? What about protests in the streets, underlying economic concerns, or Putin’s relationship with the country’s wealthy oligarchs?