• 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.

  • Up to $600 billion in American intellectual property stolen annually

    The theft of American intellectual property (IP) remains a systemic threat to the U.S. economy, inflicting an estimated cost that exceeds $225 billion in counterfeit goods, pirated software, and theft of trade secrets and could be as high as $600 billion annually. China remains the world’s principal IP infringer, driven by an industrial policy that continues to prioritize both acquisition and development of science and technology.

  • Russia's interference in U.S., European elections could be “act of war”: NATO commander

    General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, has said that Russian cyberattacks on NATO member states could be deemed an act of war and trigger the principle of the military alliance’s collective defense. Bradshaw said reports of Russian interference in American and European elections and Russian international disinformation campaign could lead alliance leaders to broaden the definition of an “attack.” European intelligence agencies have said that Russia’s successful interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential election has emboldened Moscow to replicated in Europe the methods it used in the U.S. There is already evidence that Russia has launched a hacking and disinformation campaign aiming to help far-right, ethno-nationalist, and populist politicians win the coming elections in France, the Netherlands, and Germany.

  • How governments and companies can prevent the next insider attack

    Insider threats could take many forms, such as the next Edward Snowden, who leaked hundreds of thousands of secret documents to the press, or the next Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood mass killer. Indeed, in today’s high-tech and hyperconnected world, threats from insiders go far beyond leakers and lone-wolf shooters. A single insider might be able to help adversaries steal nuclear material that terrorists could use to make a crude nuclear bomb, install malware that could compromise millions of accounts or sabotage a toxic chemical facility to cause thousands of deaths. How can we better protect against the enemy within, no matter what it is that needs to be protected? In our high-tech society, the insider threat is ever-present. High-security organizations, governments and companies alike need to take action to counter the organizational and cognitive biases that often blind us to the insider danger – or future blunders will condemn us to more disasters.

  • Russia, Trump and the 2016 election: What’s the best way for Congress to investigate?

    Exactly how will the U.S. conduct a fair and accurate investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and links with President Donald Trump’s campaign? U.S. congressional leaders are discussing options. At a time when Congress is sharply polarized along partisan lines, congressional investigations tend to become microcosms of that polarization. This is all the more true when an investigation involves an issue about which the president is vulnerable to political embarrassment or attack. If the intelligence committee proves unable to conduct a thorough and bipartisan investigation of Russian meddling and Trump’s campaign, pressure will build on America’s leaders to establish a more independent probe. Hanging in the balance could be whether the United States can forge consensus about what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

  • U.S. intelligence: a “truth-devoted” culture

    Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, now a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, was director of intelligence and counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy and was a decorated CIA intelligence officer. He discusses the nature of intelligence work, the belief structure that drives those who do it, the probe of Russian interference in the election, and the friction between the Trump administration and the intelligence agencies.

  • Michael Flynn's top aide fired from NSC after security clearance is denied

    A top aide to Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, was on Friday fired from his position as senior director for Africa at the National Security Council (NSC) after the CIA rejected his application for a high-level security clearance. Flynn himself is in hot water for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about discussions he — Flynn — had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on 29 December, in which he told the Russian ambassador not to worry about the sanctions the Obama administration had imposed on Russia that same day for its cyber-meddling in the presidential election, because Trump, after being sworn in, would lift these sanctions – as well as the sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea and invading Ukraine.

  • NSA, worried about Trump's Russia ties, “withheld information” from briefings: Former analyst

    The New York Observer, a publication owned until recently by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has reported that leaders of the U.S. intelligence community are withholding the most sensitive intelligence from the White House. A former NSA analyst and counterintelligence officer told the Observer that some of the U.S. intelligence agencies have begun withholding intelligence information from the Oval Office as a result of worries that the Russia “has ears inside” the White House situation room.

  • The problem with U.S. secrets

    Secrets are often harmless, but they can prompt major problems when they happen at the highest levels of government. So what are the consequences when a U.S. president is dangerously preoccupied with secrecy? One expert says that question is particularly relevant with a new administration taking charge. She said that every other administration withheld some crucial information, whether about Woodrow Wilson’s stroke, Richard Nixon’s burglaries, or Bill Clinton’s affairs. “Secrecy turns out to be the president’s greatest power,” she said. “And if not controlled, it’s also the greatest threat to democracy.”

  • How computer hacking is becoming Russia’s weapon of choice

    The Russian government has long been known to source its technology, world-class hacking talent, and even some intelligence information from local cybercrime rings. What’s more, this criminal fraternity probably receives state immunity for cybercrimes committed outside Russia in return for offering services to the Russian state. Russia’s clear long-term strategy is to use the internet to further its aims in information warfare. It has proved that this form of warfare is more potent than kinetic warfare and that it can reap the benefits quickly and without fear of a coordinated response from the United States or NATO. Its use of criminal cyber rings ensures that it benefits from no (provable) direct links to the Russian government. A further downside is that China, North Korea, and Iran seem to be copying this model and have already been active in attacks against other nation states. The internet has changed mass communication in countless positive ways. But it is becoming an increasingly dangerous tool for subversive activity. A re-think and a re-boot are looking increasingly necessary.

  • Trump loosens sanctions on Russian intelligence agency which helped his 2016 campaign

    The Trump administration has loosened sanctions imposed by Barack Obama on Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), one of the two Russian government intelligence agencies which actively interfered in the U.S. 2016 presidential campaign in order to help Trump win. The loosening of the sanctions would make it easier for American companies to do business with the FSB, which is the successor of the KGB.

  • Hunting hackers: An ethical hacker explains how to track down the bad guys

    When a cyberattack occurs, ethical hackers are called in to be digital detectives. In a certain sense, they are like regular police detectives on TV. They have to search computer systems to find ways an intruder might have come in – a digital door or window left unlocked, perhaps. They look for evidence an attacker left of entry, like an electronic footprint in the dirt. And they try to determine what might have been copied or taken. But how do people track down hackers, figuring out what they have done and who they are? What’s involved, and who does this sort of work? The answer is that ethical hackers like me dig deep into digital systems, examining files logging users’ activity and deconstructing malicious software. We often team up with intelligence, legal and business experts, who bring outside expertise to add context for what we can find in the electronic record. But when the attack is more advanced, coordinated across multiple media platforms and leveraging skillful social engineering over years, it’s likely a government-sponsored effort, making arrests unlikely. That’s what happened when Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election. Diplomatic sanctions are an option. But pointing fingers between world superpowers is always a dangerous game.

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

    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.

  • Russia 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.