• EspionageWhether or not Trump claims are true, Russia is still using sex for spying

    By Dan Lomas

    Plenty of observers have justifiably questioned the accuracy of the story about the dossier the Russian intelligence services are supposed to be holding, a dossier allegedly containing compromising personal and business information about Donald Trump. The story’s claims are, after all, both remarkably lurid and conveniently topical, and it is notably light on specific sources. Whatever the truth regarding allegations against Trump, sexual entrapment was, and is, a tool frequently used by the Soviet intelligence services and their modern-day Russian descendants. The claims in the dossier are lurid and unproven, but they draw on very real precedents.

  • Russian meddlingRussia waging disinformation war against Sweden: Report

    Researchers from the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden’s leading foreign policy institute, have written that Russia has been using fake news, false documents, and disinformation as part of a coordinated campaign to influence public opinion and decision-making in Sweden. The Russian meddling in Swedish politics, and the methods used by Russian intelligence agencies to influence the tone of Swedish public discourse and direction of Swedish public policies, are similar to the methods and goals of the Putin government in interfering in the U.S. 2016 presidential election in support of Donald Trump.

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  • Russian hackingU.S. imposes sanctions on Russia for interfering in 2016 U.S. election

    The United States on Thursday has unveiled a series of retaliatory measures against Russia for its interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential campaign. The goal of the Russian hacking campaign was to help Donald Trump win the election and, more generally, compromise and corrupt the American political process. The retaliatory measures include the expulsion of thirty-five Russian diplomats and the closure of two Russian compounds based the United States. In a statement, President Barack Obama said Americans should “be alarmed by Russia’s actions” and pledged further action.

  • Russian hackingDeclassify information related to Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election: Lawmakers

    Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) led seven members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday in asking President Barack Obama to declassify information relating to the Russian government and the U.S. election. Russian government hackers – employed by two Russian government agencies — conducted a hacking and disinformation campaign in the run up to the election, aiming to undermine Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, but no evidence has emerged to suggest that the Russian government hackers interfered with the voting process itself.

  • Russian hackingRussian gov. hackers may disrupt Germany’s 2017 elections: Germany’s intel chief

    The Russian government’s broad hacking campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and help Donald Trump become the U.S. next president may well be the template Russia is following in the run-up to next year’s German general election. Russia has actively – both overtly and covertly — supported right-wing, ethno-nationalist, populist, and proto-Fascist parties like Front National in France, Golden Dawn in Greece, Ataka in Bulgaria, and Jobbik in Hungary. These parties share not only anti-immigrant policies – but they are also fiercely anti-EU and want to distance their countries from NATO. One of the major themes in the public rallies – and political platform – of the German far-right, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant Pegida movement is that the influence of President Vladimir Putin’s Russia in Germany would be a welcome alternative to the imperial designs of the United States and Brussels.

  • Russian hackingGermany worries about Russian cyberattacks influencing German election

    Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Russia could launch a cyberattack campaign in an effort to influence Germany’s general elections next year. “We are already, even now, having to deal with information out of Russia or with Internet attacks that are of Russian origin or with news which sows false information,” the German chancellor said. Hans-George Maassen, the director of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, issued a formal warning earlier this year, saying that that the German government, business, educational facilities, and critical infrastructure were under “permanent threat” from Russian cyberattacks.

  • Russia & U.S. electionsFuture mischief: Russia’s disinformation campaign will continue after elections

    The continuing dumping of e-mails which Russian government hackers stole from the Clinton campaign has led U.S. intelligence officials to worry that Russia will escalate its disinformation campaign after Election Day. A senior U.S. intelligence official said that Putin is not interested only in discrediting the legitimacy of Tuesday’s elections, but is eager to undermine the effectiveness of the next president, regardless of who he or she is. “Don’t think that the Russian activity was solely about the election, or about Trump,” the officials said. “It wasn’t. It was about their agenda, what they are trying to accomplish” in expanding Russia’s power and influence around the world.

  • Russian interferenceRussia has “cultivated” Trump, aiming to weaken Western alliance: Ex-spy

    A former Western intelligence official, whose career involved decades in conducting Russian counterintelligence operations, has handed the FBI a batch of memos in which he suggested that there was “an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.” The retired spook consulted with Russian sources, and said that: “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting, and assisting Trump for at least five years. Aim, endorsed by Putin, has been to encourage splits and divisions in Western alliance.” The FBI asked to former intelligence official for all the information he had on Trump, and specifically asked the former spy how he had come by this information.

  • Avian threatIndian police arrest pigeon carrying threatening note against PM

    The Indian police said they have taken a pigeon into custody after the bird was found carrying a threatening note against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is not the first time birds have become tools in the on-going skirmishes between the two countries. The Indian police, in 2015, captured and detained a pigeon on suspicion of spying for Pakistan. The bird was X-rayed to see whether it was carrying a spy camera, transmitter, or hidden chip. Two years earlier, in 2013, the Indian military found a dead falcon fitted with a small spy camera, and in 2010 the Indians detained another pigeon on suspicion of spying.

  • Digital spooksMI6 to recruit hundreds more staff in response to advances in digital technology,

    MI6, the U.K.’s overseas intelligence service, is set to recruit hundreds more digital specialists over the next four years in response to the ever-growing digital threats and challenges posed by advancing digital technology. MI6 employs 2,500 people, and the agency focuses on intelligence-gathering and operations outside the United Kingdom. MI5 is in charge of security within the United Kingdom (James Bond worked for MI6). In a rare public appearance, Alex Younger, the head of MI6, said of terrorism: “regrettably, this is an enduring issue which will certainly be with us, I believe, for our professional lifetime.”

  • CyberespionageSophisticated espionage platform covertly extracts encrypted government communications

    Kaspersky Lab announced the other day that its researchers have discovered what they described as a “nation-state threat actor” — named ProjectSauron — who was targeting state organizations. “The cost, complexity, persistence, and ultimate goal of the operation, stealing confidential and secret information from state-sensitive organizations, suggest the involvement or support of a nation state,” Kaspersky Lab says. ProjectSauron “gives the impression of being an experienced and traditional actor who has put considerable effort into learning from other extremely advanced actors,” and “ adopting some of their most innovative techniques and improving on their tactics in order to remain undiscovered.”

  • EspionageDHS grant supports research into espionage prevention

    Researchers have received a $649,172 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to strengthen insider threat detection. The research will involve building an insider threat detection system to prepare for real-world situations wherein a disgruntled employee or even a corporate spy could abscond with valuable information. The researchers are not interested in finding the culprit after an attack has already occurred.

  • CybersecurityRussian government hackers leaked DNC e-mails: Cybersecurity experts

    Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, said on Sunday that Friday’s release by WikiLeaks of Democratic National Committee (DNC) internal e-mails was the work of Russian government hackers. The leak, Mook said, was part of an effort by President Vladimir Putin and people in his circle to weaken Clinton and increase the chances of a Donald Trump victory in November. Cybersecurity experts support Mook’s claims.

  • Cloak & daggerLitvinenko murder “ordered from the top”: Gordon Brown

    Gordon Brown, the former British PM, has said that the murder of Alexander Litvinenki, a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, was “ordered from the top.” Gordon made the claim in a new book, adding that the British government was aware of another assassination attempt planned by the Kremlin on British soil. Litvinenko was poisoned in November 2006 with a cup of radioactive tea in a Mayfair hotel.

  • HackingPresidential campaigns spied on by foreign hackers with “a variety of motivations”

    National Intelligence Director James Clapper said that the campaigns of all the candidates for president are being spied on by foreign hackers with “a variety of motivations.” Clapper said that the acts of espionage against the campaigns may only just be getting started. “As the campaigns intensify we’ll probably have more of it,” Clapper noted.