Russia’s Hack, Compliant Press, Climate Catastrophe
November 11, 2016
Calling in to call them out.
YESTERDAY, AMERICA ELECTED as president the apparently preferred candidate of Russia’s intelligence agencies. After a campaign season marred by the influence of hackers, including some widely believed to be on Vladimir Putin’s payroll, that outcome means more than a mandate for Trump and his coalition. For Russia, it will also be taken as a win for the chaos-injecting tactics of political hacks and leaks that the country’s operatives used to meddle in America’s election—and an incentive to try them elsewhere.
Following Donald Trump’s presidential win, and even in the weeks leading up to it, cybersecurity and foreign-policy watchers have warned that Russia’s government-sponsored hackers would be emboldened by the success of the recent string of intrusions and data dumps, including the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Security firms that analyzed the breaches, and US intelligence agencies, have both linked those attacks to the Kremlin. That Russia perceives those operations as successful, experts say, will only encourage similar hacks aimed at shifting elections and sowing distrust of political processes in Western democracies, particularly those in Europe. “What they’ll learn from this is, ‘We did it, we got away with it, we got the outcome we wanted,’” says James Lewis, a cybersecurity-focused fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This will only increase their desire to intervene.”
In fact, those interventions and intrusions are already underway. Since this summer’s breaches of the Democratic party, at least a dozen European organizations have also been targeted by the state-linked Russian hacker group known as Fancy Bear, or APT28, according to Dmitri Alperovitch, the CEO of the security firm Crowdstrike, which identified Russia as the culprit behind the DNC hack in July. Several of those attempts have been successful, he says, and multiple American targets of the group have also been hacked but have yet to publicly reveal that they were compromised. A report out today from security firm Trend Micro confirms the group has continued to hit “various governments and embassies around the world” in just the last weeks. “They’ve continued their attempted intrusions of political entities pretty much unabated,” Alperovitch says.