Pages with tag Election Hacks

DNC email server hacked in 2015 says private security firm that did analysis

The hack of the Democratic National Committee's email service proved crucial to the leaks that brought down the Clinton Campaign in 2016. It's well known that the DNC's IT department ignored warnings from the NSA and FBI for several months. They then turned to a private company, CrowdStrike, because they couldn't trust the FBI to treat them fairly -- given what was going on concerning the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's email policies as Secretary of State. CrowdStrike had in its staff a highly experience cyber-security sleuth who had dealt with this sort of attack previously.

Facebook sold ads to Russian 'troll farm' (fake news outfit) during 2016 US election

A big question from the 2016 US national elections is just how much influence Russia exerted over the results. It's being widely reported that Russians supposedly hacked the Democratic National Committee email system, and that hundreds of "fake news" websites connected to Russians were set up to manipulate beliefs of the public. There are reports going back to 2014 of Russian 'troll farm' websites spewing fake news to manipulate elections all over the world. Now the Washington Post reports that Facebook discovered they allowed a Russian troll farm company to launch advertising targeting the 2016 election chances of Hillary Clinton and others.

NY Times on Russia's new Theory of War - Information gamed as fake news to disrupt reality

Russia hacked the 2016 US elections, getting Donald Trump elected in the process, giving us all headaches and the prospect of the USA being ruined. The NY Times and other news outlets have pushed this story from many angles. This particular article covers not the hacks on the election system, but the information warfare that preceeded the election, and has been aimed at other countries as well. It's been widely reported since 2014 at least that Russia-intelligence-service-connected-companies are operating "spam farms" that spew targeted content into social media networks, into blog comments, and into fake-news-blog websites. The purpose of these operations is to make the population believe fictions, and to act on those ficitious ideas.

For example a story surfaced in Germany a couple years ago that a young girl had been raped by Muslim refugees of the sort that have flooded into Germany thanks to the Syrian civil war. The police were covering up the crime, supposedly, for some unknown reason. RT News and Sputnik News acted as amplifiers to other social media postings and protest rallies. The thing is, there was no truth to the story. There had been a young girl arrested who initially told the story of being raped, but then she recanted that story to cover up the truth of some other event in her life. These Russia-connected organizations amplified the false story, and it became a large domestic issue spreading the idea that Merkel was dangerously accepting immigrants who were raping people right and left, and it even became a diplomatic issue between Russia and Germany. All over a piece of fake news amplified by actors connected to the Russian government.

This sort of misinformation can, and has, swayed recent elections. I have collected several news reports on this topic going back a few years at Russia's use of Social Media channels and the Internet in Government-Government warfare

Social media firms under scrutiny for Russia Meddling, Facebook showed Russias adverts to 126 million people

In written testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, Facebook admitted as many as 126 million people saw content posted by the Internet Research Agency. That innocuously named organization is a Russian Troll Farm that's thought to be closely allied with Russian Intelligence, and was deeply connected to the social media network manipulations thought to be committed by Russia during the 2016 USA elections. Advertising purchased by the Internet Research Agency is thought to have reached over 11 million people. Twitter's testimony disclosed there were nearly 3,000 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, which posted over 130,000 tweets. Another 37,000 accounts linked to Russia, but seemingly not associated with the Internet Research Agency, posted over 1.4 million tweets.

The Internet Research Agency operates out of St. Petersburg Russia. It's known thanks to reporting over the last several years that the IRA employs a large staff who post fact-manipulating content on blogs, or social media posts, or comments on websites. Their tactic is to make "Viral" content that draws attention -- for example they might unleash a flood of tweets on a hashtag in order to generate a trending hashtag that will then get news coverage by news editors looking at whatever is trending on Twitter. Who cares if that trending thing is all phoney-baloney made up nonsense that's politically manipulative?

Top-secret NSA report details Russian spear-fishing attack on US election infrastructure in October 2016

While it's widely reported that Russians built a social-media-warfare system which they're using to undermine elections in the USA and elsewhere, The Intercept has been yelling loudly "not so fast" because the allegations of Russian interference aren't verified. If we want to accuse another government of hacking our elections, or those of Moldova or Bulgaria or Montenegro or France or other countries, there'd better be solid proof, if only because the consequence of such an accusation is a possible war.

Today, The Intercept (the news site that's been calling for caution) released an explosive report detailing an effort by Russian Intelligence services to directly hack into USA election systems. They were anonymously handed a top-secret NSA report, that they've analyzed and verified, detailing NSA's documentation of a "Spear-Fishing" attack launched by Russian operatives against election agencies around the country. The goal appeared to be interfering with voter registration confirmation systems.

It's not known whether the attack was successful, just that it occurred.

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