• Report details two decades of Putin’s attacks on democracy, U.S. vulnerability to Kremlin's interference

    A Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff report released Wednesday details Russian president Vladimir Putin’s nearly two decades-long assault on democratic institutions, universal values, and the rule of law across Europe and in his own country. The report finds that President Trump’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the threat posed by the Russian government has hampered efforts to mobilize the U.S. government, strengthen U.S. institutions, and work with U.S. European allies to counter Putin’s interference in democracies abroad. In the absence of unequivocal presidential leadership, the United States remains vulnerable to Russian interference. The report includes more than thirty recommendations for the United States and its allies.

  • Russia’s Europe meddling; 2018 election security plan; Russia hacks Winter Olympics, and more

    · Intelligence Committee prepares election security plan to thwart Russian hacking

    · Everything we know so far about Russian election meddling in Europe

    · Congress’ grilling of tech companies in 2017 foreshadows the debates of 2018

    · Why is WikiLeaks trying to kneecap Michael Wolff’s book?

    · The digger who commissioned the Trump-Russia dossier

    · Czechs fear Russian fake news in presidential election

    · We are being defeated in a digital war – but there is still time to fight back

    · Sneaky malware disguises itself as an Adobe Flash Player installer

    · Fancy Bear: Alleged Russian hackers leak ‘emails and documents’ from Olympic body

    · Republicans work to frustrate Mueller’s Russia investigation as probes close in on Trump White House

  • Election hacking, as we understand it today, is not a cybersecurity issue

    Many lawmakers and analysts argue that the Kremlin’s successful 2016 campaign to undermine American democracy, increase societal conflict and political polarization, and help Donald Trump win the presidency, had to do with weak cybersecurity measures – and that the way to prevent similar efforts by foreign powers to influence U.S. elections is to bolster U.S. cybersecurity. Herb Lin writes that it is not at all obvious that the success of Russian meddling in the 2016 election was primarily the result of failures in the nation’s cybersecurity posture. Rather, much more decisive in Russia’s successful meddling was the Kremlin’s sophisticated disinformation campaign on social media platforms. Even fully funded and well-implemented measures the strengthen the cybersecurity aspects pf American elections will not ameliorate the effects of Russian efforts to increase the polarization of the U.S. electorate. “For this reason, a focus on preventing the hacking of election systems is misleading and dangerous—it distracts us from the real danger to the republic today, which is the toxic nature of political discourse in an internet-enabled information environment that Russia can manipulate in entirely legal ways.”

  • Russian influence in Mexican and Colombian elections

    Russia’s ongoing effort to destroy faith in democracy is not only a problem for the United States and Europe. The Kremlin has set its sights on destabilizing next year’s Mexican and Colombian elections, and has been strengthening its instruments of political influence in both countries. In 2015, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, then in his capacity as Commander of U.S. Southern Command, warned that under President Vladimir Putin, Russia is “using power projection in an attempt to erode U.S. leadership and challenge U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere.”

  • McMaster says U.S. must reveal “insidious” Russian meddling to prevent further attacks

    The president’s national security adviser H. R. McMaster says one of the most important tasks in defending U.S. national security is to reveal Russia’s “insidious” interference in elections worldwide to prevent Moscow from meddling again in the democratic process. “What we have to do is come up with a way to deal with this very sophisticated strategy [of meddling],” McMaster said. “This new kind of threat that Russia has really perfected…the use of disinformation and propaganda and social-media tools to really polarize societies and pit communities against each other, to weaken their resolve and their commitment,” he added. U.S. intelligence officials concluded last January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” targeting the 2016 election, aiming to undermine confidence in U.S. democracy, tarnish the reputation of Democrat Hillary Clinton, and help Republican Donald Trump.

  • Experts: “Russian public media spread Catalan pro-independence propaganda”

    A year ago, a British parliament committee – the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee – began an investigation into fake news, exploring evidence that media outlets with ties to the Russian government have tried to destabilize the EU and NATO by disseminating disinformation. The members of the committee – five from the Conservative Party, five from the Labor Party, and one from the Scottish National Party – have already taken evidence from dozens of experts, scholars, and journalists on the subject of fake news. The experts appearing before the committee noted that there have been a similar pattern between Russian government’s interference and meddling activities with the Brexit referendum campaign, and Russian meddling activities pushing for Catalan independence.

  • Aussies tipped FBI to Russia’s meddling; the latest 2018 election-hacking threat; Putin’s political provocateurs, and more

    · Report: ex-Trump aide told Australians of Russian “dirt” on Clinton

    · Book review: In “Collusion,” Guardian reporter makes case for Russian manipulation of Trump

    · Putin’s political provocateurs: “Meddling” created blueprint for 21st-century subversion

    · “Whoever controls cyberspace will control the world”: Russian hackers waging cyber war on Ukraine “training” for Western targets

    · What we learned about Trump, Russia, and collusion in 2017

    · The latest 2018 election-hacking threat: 9-month wait for government help

    · Should we believe a Russian hacker who claims he hit the DNC for a rogue operative in the FSB?

    · What Russian journalists uncovered about Russian election meddling

    · Forgetting the past: The U.S. response to Russian disinformation

    · Pressure builds to improve election cybersecurity

  • Lawmakers from states targeted by Russian hackers urge action to protect U.S. elections

    Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Maryland) the other day, along with members of Congress from 18 of the 21 states targeted by Russian hackers in 2016, called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to take immediate action to protect state voting systems from cyberattacks and to bolster state election infrastructure.

  • Spotting Russian bots trying to influence politics

    A team of researchers has isolated the characteristics of bots on Twitter through an examination of bot activity related to Russian political discussions. The team’s findings provide new insights into how Russian accounts influence online exchanges using bots, or automated social media accounts, and trolls, which aim to provoke or disrupt. “There is a great deal of interest in understanding how regimes and political actors use bots in order to influence politics,” explains one researcher. “Russia has been at the forefront of trying to shape the online conversation using tools like bots and trolls, so a first step to understanding what Russian bots are doing is to be able to identify them.”

  • Kaspersky Lab appeals DHS debarment

    Kaspersky Lab yesterday announced that it is seeking an appeal in federal court of U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision on Binding Operational Directive 17-01 banning the use of the company’s products in federal agencies. The company cites reputational and revenue impact of a Binding Operational Directive based on media reports, rumor, and unsubstantiated allegations.

  • DHS, election industry members to launch Sector Coordinating Council

    Election industry representatives from across the country met last week with DHS and representatives from the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to launch the formation of an industry-led Sector Coordinating Council (SCC). Sector Coordinating Councils are bodies that enable critical infrastructure owners and operators to share information and work together with DHS on sector-specific strategies, policies, and activities.

  • Russia-related intelligence information left out of Trump's daily briefings for fear it would upset him

    White House and national security officials have said that they purposefully leave intelligence information on Russian ongoing hacking and disinformation activities against the United States out of President Donald Trump’s daily briefings for fear such intelligence information will upset him. If the information cannot be left out, it is usually placed toward the end of the briefing in order to prevent a situation in which the president would refuse to listen to or discuss the rest of the PDB (Presidential Daily Brief).

  • What is Vladimir Putin really up to? Carnegie scholars aim to find out

    The Trump administration’s national security team – of not the president himself – is increasingly concerned that Russia is expanding its influence around the world at a time when the United States and leading Western powers in Europe are focused on their own domestic problems. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is about to launch a two-year project, called “The Return of Global Russia: A Reassessment of the Kremlin’s International Agenda,” aiming to examine and analyze Russia’s activist foreign and military policies. According to Carnegie researchers, Moscow is trying to systematically undermine democracies such as the United States and alliances like the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

  • Sen. Marco Rubio: “Vladimir Putin chose to interfere in U.S. elections”

    “[W]hat is abundantly clear is that Vladimir Putin chose to interfere in the U.S. elections — in my opinion, not so much to favor one candidate over another, but to sow instability”; “[H]is ultimate goal was to ensure that whoever was elected the next U.S. president, they did so with their credibility damaged. I also think that he wanted to exploit the already existing divisions in American society for the purpose of forcing us to go through what we’re going through right now — investigations, divisive debates, talk about impeachment, and the like.”

  • The “Russia Story”; Russia’s meddling was U.S. “intelligence failure”; cyber forensics, and more

    · What is the “Russia Story”?

    · Defending the West from Russian disinformation: The role of institutions

    · What Putin really wants

    · Russian bots manipulate online conversation about Olympics, sexual harassment

    · WikiLeaks faces four U.S. probes into its 2016 election role and CIA leaks

    · Rep. Eric Swalwell breaks down how Russia infected the U.S. election

    · As Russia subverts missile treaty, U.S. looking at new weapons

    · Exposing Russian interference – the value of real-time forensics

    · Ex-spy chief: Russia’s election hacking was an “intelligence failure”

    · Company that used Russian coders for Pentagon project strikes deal