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Privacy Security United States Politics

Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election (theintercept.com) 456

Russian hacking groups played a larger role in the 2016 election than anyone realized, according to a highly-classified NSA document published today in The Intercept. The document reveals that a Russian intelligence operation sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before the election, which ran through a hack of a U.S. voting software supplier. The Russian cyber espionage operation was functional for months before the 2016 U.S. election. From the report: It states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document: "Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors ... executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. ... The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to ... launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations." This NSA summary judgment is sharply at odds with Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial last week that Russia had interfered in foreign elections: "We never engaged in that on a state level, and have no intention of doing so." Putin, who had previously issued blanket denials that any such Russian meddling occurred, for the first time floated the possibility that freelance Russian hackers with "patriotic leanings" may have been responsible. The NSA report, on the contrary, displays no doubt that the cyber assault was carried out by the GRU.
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Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election

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  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday June 05, 2017 @06:48PM (#54555483)
    So we go from "they hacked us" to "they tried to hack us"? Not quite the same accusation. Next it will go from "It was the Russian government" to "it was someone using an IP from Russia"...
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bradbo ( 890238 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @08:03PM (#54556021)
      The report doesn't say "using an IP address from Russia" -- it says it was from the Russian Military. I don't think the NSA would get the two confused. Also, the report says that at least one email account was probably compromised ("probably" being intel-speak for "very high confidence"). With a compromised email account, further phishing attacks are much more likely to be successful. So we don't know the extent of the hacking results (at least from this one report), but it was not a "attempt to hack" but a "successful hack" with unknown-as-yet damage.
    • So we go from "they hacked us" to "they tried to hack us"? Not quite the same accusation.

      No one has ever said they actually hacked voting machines or IT infrastructure related with the actual conducting of the election. There have however, been persistent rumours that Russia had attempted, but failed, to hack those things. This is the first evidence we've seen that those rumours were true.

      You seem to be conflating those rumours of attempted hacks of election infrastructure with far more publicized claims that Russia hacked the DNC, RNC, and gained access via phishing to John Podesta's emails.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If the Russians actually hacked into the voting machines at the poles and flipped Hillary votes to Donald votes, then yes they hacked the election. Since I have yet to hear this pushed forward, it sounds like all they did was reveal more dirt on Hillary.

    Russians may have swayed public opinion but that's no different then what our news media does every day. Heck, the news media likely lost Hillary the election because of those polls. Democrats stayed home because they figured, "we got this and I liked Bernie

  • by stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan DOT stine AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 05, 2017 @07:12PM (#54555665) Homepage

    Well I knew that slashdot jumped the shark awhile back, but when most of the comments are defending the Russians, it's reached an all new low.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @07:19PM (#54555707)

      Well I knew that slashdot jumped the shark awhile back, but when most of the comments are defending the Russians, it's reached an all new low.

      Well, as people get older they do get more conservative...

      More seriously - it's been true, for a lot of years, that whenever Slashdot has run a story which casts a bad light on Putin... an awful lot of anonymous pro-Putin posts appear. We saw it when he had his country invade the Ukraine; we saw it when he rigged the 2012 Russian election; and we see it now. It would be interesting to examine Slashdot's web logs.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        >Everyone who disagrees with me is a russian agent.

        Yeah, must be that. Couldn't just be that in the current political climate saying anything even remotely supportive of Trump or dismissive of the crazy conspiracies against him is thoughtcrime punishable by public ostracization and the angry dumping of long litanies of "-ist"s and "-phobic"s at the offender.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In Soviet Slashdot, Russia trolls you

    • Yeah I mean, Soviet Union was good because of income equality. Liberal artists used to sing "Russians love their children too!"

      But now Russia is bad bad bad, they've abandoned socialism so now they are teh evil.

      • "I hope the Russians love their children too".

        I'm assuming you're talking about Sting's Russians, in which case you seriously missed the point of the song.

  • This is the second time Hillary failed to become “the inevitable president”. Did Russia sabotage her plans last time? (Oh, Obama won the primaries. Hillary made sure she won those this time.)

    Did Russia tell Hillary to rig the primaries to freeze our Sanders?

    Did Russia get the DNC to provide Hillary the debate questions in advance? (She still did terrible anyway.)

    Did Russia make Hillary collapse on their way to their car?

    Did Russia encourage Bill to pardon Marc Rich, the billionaire donor to the

    • *sigh*

      No, HRC did not lose because of Russia. That doesn't mean there wasn't any collusion within the Russia and the current administration, which is what's currently being investigated into. Honestly, it's been 7 months and the only people still hung up on this election seem to be Trump supporters.

      As for the rest of the conspiracy theory items, no comments.

    • You could probably cut that list in half and be more reputable.
    • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @08:30PM (#54556245) Journal

      Partisan politics-as-usual bullshit
      Focusing on Clinton instead of the BIGGER PICTURE

      Listen buddy: IDGAF about Hillary; I didn't vote for the old bat and I didn't vote for Cheeto-head either, but I do give a good god-fucking-damnit about whether some Russian military assholes, on the orders of the head Russian asshole, HACKED OUR GODS-BE-DAMNED ELECTION PROCESS AND GOT AWAY WITH IT! Is that so fucking hard for you and EVERYONE LIKE YOU to understand!?

      Meanwhile your boy Cheeto-head, the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief, is FUCKING OVER THE COUNTRY with his ham-fisted attempts at being President. You still happy with your choice for POTUS, boy?

      • I want Trump to be executed for war crimes, but I also know that anything remotely valuable on the internet is being constantly attacked by every major military force in the world, a few crime syndicates, and probably some bored manchild living in their parent's basement. The things to be concerned about are success and sophistication, and the main response to either should be on being less goddamned stupid about our processes. Just the logistical failures of the primaries alone is a bigger concern as far

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I know you'd like to change the subject back to Hillary, but we're talking about the Russians here and their cozy relationship to the President.

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Monday June 05, 2017 @07:51PM (#54555951)

    I'm sure the Russians are the only ones trying to hack elections.

    We've moved from secretly hacking elections to directly stumping for candidates we like:

    https://www.theguardian.com/wo... [theguardian.com]

    I don't think Obama is a French citizen - why should he impose his opinion on the French people if for no other reason than to influence the outcome of that election?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because he's a private citizen worried about the rise of the far-right in Europe?

  • Soviet "military intelligence" who normally did military spying tried to run a spy in the UK in the 1970's due to an accident of first contact.
    It ended in failure as the Soviet staff did not have the decades of skill to work long term with a person in the UK and all the emotional issues that result.
    The write up of Russia/the Soviet Union ever using "military intelligence" in the West for activity seems more of an older US fantasy than reality.
    Russia knows what its "military intelligence" can do and shoul
  • From the Intercept article linked:

    "While the document provides a rare window into the NSAâ(TM)s understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking, it does not show the underlying âoerawâ intelligence on which the analysis is based. A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive."

    If one reads other articles by the Intercept, one finds that Glenn Greenwald, who wor

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