Espionage | Homeland Security Newswire

  • Gen. H. R. McMaster: "The Kremlin’s confidence is growing

    In a speech at the Atlantic Council on Tuesday, 3 April, the outgoing national security adviser Gen. H. R. McMaster said that “Russia has used old and new forms of aggression to undermine our open societies and the foundations of international peace and stability.” He said that Western countries have been “targeted by Russia’s so-called hybrid warfare, a pernicious form of aggression that combines political, economic, informational, and cyber assaults against sovereign nations.  Russia employs sophisticated strategies deliberately designed to achieve objectives while falling below the target state’s threshold for a military response.  Tactics include infiltrating social media, spreading propaganda, weaponizing information, and using other forms of subversion and espionage.” McMsster added: “The Kremlin’s confidence is growing.”

  • Russia's influence is much more than propaganda and fake news

    This liberal bias of Western political culture has led the majority of Russia-commentators to miss something which is in plain sight: that Russia’s conservative values are increasingly attractive among populist groups in the West, and that this attraction is doing what soft power is supposed to do: generating support for Russia’s foreign policy. The ideological attraction of the values put forward by the Russian regime cross several categories, including moral conservatism, illiberal governance, and strong leadership. This means that Russian propaganda is not simply being delivered to a uniform audience that needs to be convinced or confused: it is being delivered to a differentiated audience, some of whom – on the populist, far-right side of the spectrum — will buy into the messages put out by the Russian regime because it conforms with their ideological values. Countering Russian influence in the West is thus not simply a matter of fact-checking to counter the propaganda efforts: with populist, far-right movements the problem is fundamentally ideological.

  • Propagating online conspiracies

    Due to the Internet, conspiracy theories are on the rise and playing an increasingly significant role in global politics. Now new research has analyzed digital data to reveal exactly who is propagating them and why. The researchers said that conspiracies such as Pizzagate (which falsely claimed high-ranking Democratic Party officials were running a child-sex ring out of a pizza shop) and the anti-vaccination movement are becoming a bigger issue.

  • Russian media has offered 20 different narratives of Skripal poisoning

    As British investigators probe the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, international consensus continues to grow that Moscow was behind the attempted assassination. In Russia, by contrast, fingers are pointing in all directions but the Kremlin, with two dozen different narratives surrounding the Skripal case appearing in the Russian media. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson accused Moscow of seeking to “conceal the needle of truth in a haystack of lies.”

  • Russian ships scouting key communication cables

    Russia has not only attacked the infrastructure of American democracy, but has also engaged in what the U.S. government describes as a pervasive, wide-ranging cyber-assault on U.S. energy grid and other key components of the U.S. critical infrastructure. These attacks included leaving “sleeper” malware in key infrastructure nodes, which would allow Russia – remotely, and at the time of its choosing — to turn off power stations, open dam gates, shutdown water treatment facilities, and more. Western intelligence services have spotted Russian ships lurking around critical underwater communications cables, causing concern the Kremlin is doing reconnaissance in preparation for possible future retaliatory action.

  • Czechs extradite alleged Russian hacker Nikulin to U.S.

    The Czech Justice Ministry has announced that an alleged Russian hacker wanted by both Washington and Moscow has been extradited to the United States. Yevgeny Nikulin is accused of hacking big Internet companies including LinkedIn and Dropbox in 2012 and 2013. The FBI links him to the hacking of the Democratic Party’s servers during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign.

  • Busting Russia’s fake news the European Union way

    The U.S. has been rocked over the last two years by claims that the Russian government directly attempted to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. Such efforts may be relatively new in the U.S. But they are part of a much larger global push by the Kremlin to affect politics across the European Union and exploit citizens through the internet. I study computer hacking, malware and the role of the internet in fraud and deception by various actors. And I believe that the Europeans have something to teach the United States about how to protect citizens subject to Russian internet propaganda.

  • Case of Dutch lawyer ties Rick Gates to Russian intelligence

    The government’s sentencing memorandum filed in the case of Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty in February of lying to the FBI, shows Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates knowingly communicated with someone tied to the Russian intelligence service (GRU) in the fall of 2016.

  • Taking up the fight against fake news

    In February, the Justice Department charged thirteen Russians with stealing U.S. citizens’ identities and spreading “fake news” with intent to subvert the last U.S. presidential election. The case is still unfolding, and may do so for years. In the meantime, researchers have built a tech-based solution to the dissemination of malicious misinformation. The algorithms they developed reveal patterns to help identify misinformation

  • “Information statecraft”: Conflicts reshaped by authoritarian attack on discursive space

    As artificial intelligence is increasingly integrated into digital advertising, disinformation operations and legitimate political communications will gradually become concerted, automatic, and seamless. An expert argues that for students of disinformation — including the Russians who to date have not even had to leverage such sophisticated web technology to mislead American voters — the new information ecosystem presents a vast land of opportunity.

  • U.S., EU states expel dozens of Russian diplomats over nerve agent poisoning

    President Donald Trump has ordered the expulsion of sixty Russian “intelligence officers” in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in England, while fourteen European Union members and Ukraine also announced expulsions. The nearly simultaneous announcements on 26 March signaled a united front in the face of the use by Russian intelligence operatives, on the orders of Vladimir Putin, of military-grade nerve toxin against Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, in the English city of Salisbury.

  • U.S. not ready to fend off Russian meddling in the 2018 midterms: GOP, Dem. lawmakers

    Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence (DNI), told lawmakers two weeks ago that “the Unsaid States is under attack” by Russia. On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee held hearings about how the United States was addressing one of the components the three-pronged Russian attack: Russia’s ambitious effort to undermine and discredit American democracy by attacking the U.S. election infrastructure. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former DHS secretary Jeh Johnson were confronted by pointed questions from both Republicans and Democrats, questions which revealed a bipartisan consensus that the United States is not prepared to fend off Russian meddling in the 2018 midterms.

  • Senate Intel Committee: Initial election security recommendations for 2018 election cycle

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold an open hearing today, Wednesday, 21 March 2018, on the threats to election infrastructure. The hearing will cover Russian attempted attacks on state election infrastructure in 2016, DHS and FBI efforts to improve election security, and the view from the states on their cybersecurity posture. The committee yesterday made available its initial recommendations on election security after investigating Russian attempts to target election infrastructure during the 2016 U.S. elections.

  • Nerve agent was placed in former spy’s BMW ventilation system: U.S. intel

    The former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, may have been exposed to a deadly nerve agent through his car’s ventilation system, ABC News reports. The two remain in critical condition in hospital after being exposed to the nerve agent novichok in Salisbury, in the U.K., two weeks ago. ABC News reported that intelligence officials had said the “dusty” substance used was likely placed in the ventilation system of the BMW Skripal was driving.

  • Lawmakers question lack of effort by State, Defense in countering Russian disinformation

    A bipartisan group of six members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee have urged the State Department and the Department of Defense to explain why tens of millions in federal funds designated to counter disinformation and propaganda from foreign governments like Russia have not been spent. The Senators’ letter comes in response to a report that the State Department has not spent any of the $120 million Congress allocated to the Department to combat foreign meddling in U.S. elections.