The 2018 mid-term elections are vulnerable to attack from what the Russians may have learned from their probing cyber attacks on state election systems during the 2016 election.
NBC News reports, U.S. intel: Russia compromised seven states prior to 2016 election/span>:
The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials.
Top-secret intelligence requested by President Barack Obama in his last weeks in office identified seven states where analysts — synthesizing months of work — had reason to believe Russian operatives had compromised state websites or databases.
Three senior intelligence officials told NBC News that the intelligence community believed the states as of January 2017 were Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin.
The officials say systems in the seven states were compromised in a variety of ways, with some breaches more serious than others, from entry into state websites to penetration of actual voter registration databases.
While officials in Washington informed several of those states in the run-up to the election that foreign entities were probing their systems, none were told the Russian government was behind it, state officials told NBC News.
All state and federal officials who spoke to NBC News agree that no votes were changed and no voters were taken off the rolls.
Posted in Arizona State Legislature, AZBlueMeanie, Budgets, Congress, Counties, Election Integrity, Elections, Governor, Infrastructure, Legislation, President, Scandals
Tagged Arizona Secretary of State, Cyber Crime, Cyber Security, Cyber War, Russia, voting machines
James Bruno, a former U.S. diplomat, writes at the Political Animal blog, Tinker. Tailor. Mogul. Spy?
The United States has just endured a carefully planned, well-orchestrated assault against its democratic form of government in the form of a grand cyber-theft of information and targeted release of that information. After a thorough scrub of available intelligence, seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies concluded unanimously that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.
* * *
But if Russia’s role in the 2016 election is basically undisputed, we’re still left with a separate, more troubling question for which there isn’t yet a clear answer: Could Donald Trump actually be a Russian intel asset?
The U.S. intelligence chiefs steered clear of this hot potato conjecture. Supporting the case in favor is Trump’s bizarre screeds against the U.S. intelligence community and his equally head-scratching and consistent praise of Vladimir Putin even as his nominees to head the CIA and Defense Department describe Moscow as a threat. “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” former acting CIA Director Michael Morell wrote in the New York Times. An “unwitting agent” or “asset” in spy parlance is an individual who serves the interests of a foreign government without fully realizing it, or, what Lenin liked to call, a “useful idiot.” A “witting” asset is one who knows fully what he is doing.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Corruption, Elections, International, Media, President, Scandals, War
Tagged Cyber Security, Cyber War, Foreign Policy, Intelligence Agencies, National Security, nuclear weapons, Russia
The New York Times today soft-pedals the FBI investigation into the Kremlin candidate, Putin Pal Donald Trump, and members of his campaign staff’s connections to Russian oligarchs.
Buried deep in the Times report, Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia, is this passage:
In classified sessions in August and September, intelligence officials also briefed congressional leaders on the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump. They focused particular attention on what cyberexperts said appeared to be a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia’s biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin.
F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages — a first step for one system’s computers to talk to another — to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.
Anyone reading this abbreviated passage would be led to believe that this Trump computer server talking to Russian servers was no big deal.
That is until you read the lengthy and deeply detailed reporting of Franklin Foer at Slate, who interviewed the cyber experts who actually did the analysis and not just rely on what the FBI says, like the Times reporters. Foer’s reporting raises serious questions about what is going on between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank. This is the computer server that the media should be fixated on.
Posted in AZBlueMeanie, Campaigns, Corruption, Election Integrity, Elections, International, Law Enforcement, Media, Party Politics, President, Scandals
Tagged Cyber Security, Cyber War