• Refusal to accept reality of Russian hacking hobbles U.S. cyber defense efforts: Experts

    The evidence of a broad, systemic effort by Russian government hackers and disinformation specialists – on instructions from President Vladimir Putin — to undermine the U.S. electoral process and ensure a Trump victory in November 2016 is incontrovertible, and it is mounting. The evidence has not persuaded President Donald Trump, however. He cites Putin’s denial of the Russian cyber effort as a reason why he – Trump — does not trust the unanimous conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community. Cyber experts say that Trump’s refusal to accept the reality of the 2016 Russian government hacking and disinformation campaign is creating a dangerous policy vacuum. This vacuum, the security experts fear, is only encouraging more cyber warfare.

  • New questions in Russia probe

    “It has become clear that the Russian intention was to attempt to enter into a collaborative or cooperative relationship with the Trump campaign in order to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign to their mutual benefit,” a former CIA official says. “To that end, the Russian government employed hacking activity to collect information and then embarked on an ambitious intelligence operation to leak that information to Trump’s advantage and to Clinton’s detriment. The question that remains, and is most important to answer, is did the Trump campaign willfully accept this assistance from the Russian government and enter into a conspiracy to benefit the campaign?” the former official said. “I would say it’s the most consequential Russian intelligence operation in my lifetime in terms of the attempted scope of their intention to penetrate our domestic politics and influence an American election. I can’t recall a precedent where they were that ambitious and that aggressive in pursuing that kind of goal. It’s hard to imagine that they would have done so with a completely unwilling partner.”

  • U.K. must prepare to fight cyberwars against Russian “mayhem”: Former U.K. chief spy

    Britain must be ready to conduct cyberwars against the “mayhem” coming from Russia, the former head of GCHQ – the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. NSA — has warned ministers. The U.K. government will have to “push back against Russian state activity,” in the same tough way as the leaders of Germany and France have promised, Robert Hannigan said. Hannigan, when asked whether Russia posed a threat to Britain’s democratic process, he replied: “Yes, there is a disproportionate amount of mayhem in cyberspace coming from Russia, from state activity.” Experts and officials say these Russian operations are part of a broader drive by the Putin regime to destabilize the West.

  • Russian hackers likely behind cyberattacks on U.S. nuclear operators: Experts

    Russian government hackers are suspected to be behind a series of cyberattacks on U.S. nuclear operators. The attacks were similar to recent Russian attacks on Ukraine’s power infrastructure. Experts say that rhe attacks in Ukraine and the United States show that Russian hackers appear to be testing increasingly advanced tools to disrupt power supplies. “If you think about a typical war, some of the acts that have been taken against critical infrastructure in Ukraine and even in the U.S., those would be considered crossing red lines,” says one security expert.

  • Russian government hackers planted false news story which caused Gulf crisis: U.S. intelligence

    U.S. intelligence officials say Russian government hackers planted a false news story into the text prepared for release by the official Qatari news agency. The release of the Russian-manufactured story by the official Qatari news agency prompted Saudi Arabia and several of its regional allies to suspend diplomatic relations with Qatar and impose economic sanctions on it. U.S. officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the U.S. and its allies.

  • World heading toward “permanent cyber war”: France’s cyber chief

    The world is heading towards a “permanent war” in cyberspace, Guillaume Poupard, director general of the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI), has warned. Poupard said cyberattacks of growing frequency and intensity were coming from states which he did not name, as well as criminal and extremist groups. “We must work collectively, not just with two or three Western countries, but on a global scale,” he added, saying attacks could aim at espionage, fraud, sabotage, or destruction.

  • Russia may have rigged Brexit vote – and U.K.’s 8 June general election could be next: Experts

    A report handed to the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Select Committee suggests that Russian secret funds and disinformation campaign may have swayed the EU referendum vote in favor of Brexit. Ahead of the 8 June parliamentary election, GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters – the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. NSA] has warned leaders of Britain’s political parties of the threat Russian government hacking was posing to British democracy – while Russian interference with Brexit is also on the radar of the Electoral Commission, which is worried about the transparency of money donated to political parties and campaigns.

  • Russia’s hacking, disinformation efforts aim to influence German, French elections

    Russian government hackers and disinformation specialists were successful in their hacking and disinformation campaign in the run-up to the November 2016 election in the United States. “I think one of the lessons that the Russians may have drawn from this is that this works,” FBI director James Comey told lawmakers on Tuesday. German and French intelligence services agree with Comey. They say they have detected an intensification of Russian hacking and disinformation efforts in the run-up of the second round of France’s presidential election – to be held this coming Sunday – and Germany’s federal election, to be held in September. In both Francde and Germany, Russia’s campaign aims to strengthen populist, far-right, ultra-nationalist, and anti-American politicians and parties.

  • The lessons on Russian intelligence

    Despite President Trump’s saying that it’s all just “fake news,” James R. Clapper, who was U.S. director of national intelligence from 2010 until January, said he has no doubt that Russia successfully interfered in the 2016 election and “clearly favored” Trump over Hillary Clinton. “Clearly, the Russians — and the shots were called at the highest level — were interested first in sowing dissension and doubt and discord in this country,” Clapper said. As the campaign went on, however, he said their aims switched to helping Trump. “They, too, didn’t initially take Mr. Trump seriously, but later on they did,” Clapper said at a Harvard Kennedy School talk. Clapper said we should expect more Russian meddling in U.S. elections.

  • Cyber attacks ten years on: from disruption to disinformation

    Today – 27 April — marks the tenth anniversary of the world’s first major coordinated “cyberattack” on a nation’s internet infrastructure: Russian government hackers attacked the computer systems of the government of Estonia in retaliation for what Russia considered to be an insult to the sacrifices of the Red Army during the Second World War. This little-known event set the scene for the onrush of cyber espionage, fake news, and information wars we know today. A cybersecurity expert recently told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that to understand current Russian active measures and influence campaigns — that is, to understand cyber operations in the twenty-first century – we must first understand intelligence operations in the twentieth century. Understanding the history of cyber operations will be critical for developing strategies to combat them. Narrowly applying models from military history and tactics will offer only specific gains in an emerging ecosystem of “information age strategies.” If nations wish to defend themselves, they will need to understand culture as much as coding.

  • Trump versus the intelligence agencies – we’ve seen it all before

    Donald Trump’s remarkable attacks on his own intelligence community may seem shocking to the casual observer – but they are not without precedent. History is littered with the debris of this delicate and all too often abusive relationship. Whether it is dirty tricks to undermine a “Bolshevik” Harold Wilson or “Ivy League liberals” smearing Richard Nixon, it is clear that the spies do not always love their leaders. Whether claims of dirty tricks are true remains open to question, but they upset the delicate intelligence-policymaker relationship. Past examples from Britain, the United States, and Israel show that even the suggestion that intelligence agencies are trying to undermine the government cause significant problems. History does not bode well for President Trump. Expect more problems in the future.

  • No wiretapping at Trump Tower: Senate, House intelligence leaders

    Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top two lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Thursday issued a statement to confirm that there is no evidence to back President Donald Trump’s assertion that Trump Tower was under surveillance. On Wednesday, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, said there was no proof Trump was wiretapped during the administration of Barack Obama.

  • A First: U.S. brings hacking charges against two Russian government officials

    The United States, for the first time, has brought hacking charges against Russian government officials. The charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage. The Justice Department has previously charged Russians with cybercrime – and brought prosecutions against hackers sponsored by the Chinese and Iranian governments – but the new indictments are the first time a criminal case is being brought against Russian government officials.

  • WikiLeaks's CIA dump a likely Russian move to make Trump’s charges appear credible: Experts

    Some Trump supporters have suggested that the hacking of the DNC and of the Clinton campaign was not the work of Russia’s intelligence agencies. Rather, it was a “false flag” operation carried out by the U.S. intelligence community, but which was made to look as if it was carried out by Russian intelligence. They portray Trump as a victim of the “deep state,” or permanent bureaucracy, which is hostile to the president’s agenda. Security experts say that the latest WikiLeaks’s publication of information about CIA hacking and surveillance tools – information likely given to WikiLeaks by Russian intelligence – may well be a Russian effort to make Trump’s fact-free charges, that he was “spied on” by U.S. intelligence, appear more credible.

  • Ukrainian businessman with links to Trump, Russia dies in mysterious circumstances

    Alex Oronov, 69, a Ukranian-born millionaire businessman with ties to both Donald Trump and the Russian business elite, has died on 2 March in unexplained circumstances. Oronov, a naturalized American citizen, ran a large agricultural business in his native Ukraine. Oronov also had family ties to Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer: Cohen’s brother, Bryan, was Oronov’s partner in an ethanol business in Ukraine. Oronov’s death is the latest in a series of mysterious deaths which have visited senior Russian diplomats in the past three months.