Showing posts with label Hacking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hacking. Show all posts

July 6, 2020

Modern Day Hacking on Americans by Criminals and The Police

Hackers are now getting telecom employees to run software that lets the hackers directly reach into the internal systems of U.S. telecom companies to take over customer cell phone numbers, Motherboard has learned. Multiple sources in and familiar with the SIM swapping community as well as screenshots shared with Motherboard suggest at least AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have been impacted.
This is an escalation in the world of SIM swapping, in which hackers take over a target's phone number so they can then access email, social media, or cryptocurrency accounts. Previously, these hackers have bribed telecom employees to perform SIM swaps or tricked workers to do so by impersonating legitimate customers over the phone or in person. Now, hackers are breaking into telecom companies, albeit crudely, to do the SIM swapping themselves. 
Motherboard's findings come as multiple Senators and Representatives wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday asking what the FCC is doing to protect consumers from the ongoing wave of SIM swapping attacks. An indictment unsealed this week in New York alleges a 22-year-old stole $23 million worth of cryptocurrency through SIM swapping.
"Some employees and managers are absolute brain dead and give us access to everything they own and that's when we start stealing," one SIM swapper said. Motherboard granted the SIM swapper anonymity to talk more openly about criminal practices.
Do you know anything else about SIM swapping? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on, or email
The technique uses Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) software. RDP lets a user control a computer over the internet rather than being physically in front of it. It's commonly used for legitimate purposes such as customer support. But scammers also make heavy use of RDP. In an age-old scam, a fraudster will phone an ordinary consumer and tell them their computer is infected with malware. To fix the issue, the victim needs to enable RDP and let the fake customer support representative into their machine. From here, the scammer could do all sorts of things, such as logging into online bank accounts and stealing funds.
This use of RDP is essentially what SIM swappers are now doing. But instead of targeting consumers, they're tricking telecom employees to install or activate RDP software, and then remotely reaching into the company's systems to SIM swap individuals. 
The process starts with convincing an employee in a telecom company's customer support center to run or install RDP software. The active SIM swapper said they provide an employee with something akin to an employee ID, "and they believe it." Hackers may also convince employees to provide credentials to a RDP service if they already use it.
Once RDP is enabled, "They RDP into the store or call center [computer] [...] and mess around on the employees' computers including using tools," said Nicholas Ceraolo, an independent security researcher who first flagged the issue to Motherboard. Motherboard then verified Ceraolo's findings with the active SIM swapper.
"Some employees and managers are absolute brain dead and give us access to everything they own and that's when we start stealing."
Certain employees inside telecom companies have access to tools with the capability to 'port' someone's phone number from one SIM to another. In the case of SIM swapping, this involves moving a victim's number to a SIM card controlled by the hacker; with this in place, the hacker can then receive a victim's two-factor authentication codes or password reset prompts via text message. These include T-Mobile's tool dubbed QuickView; AT&T's is called Opus.
The SIM swapper said one RDP tool used is Splashtop, which says on its website the product is designed to help "remotely support clients' computers and servers." 
Ceraolo provided multiple screenshots of this process, one of which appears to show someone logged into a T-Mobile QuickView panel via RDP. Another shows someone using a RDP tool while logged into an AT&T system.
The SIM swapper said, "This works with mostly ever[y] carrier, but as of now I can say T-Mobile and AT&T are the carriers that are used the most."
When asked for comment, an AT&T spokesperson wrote in an email, "We are aware of this particular tactic in the industry and have taken steps to prevent it. Determined, sophisticated criminals employ fraudulent SIM swaps to commit theft. That is why we are working closely with our industry, law enforcement and consumers to prevent this type of crime."
Sprint also confirmed it is aware of SIM swappers using this RDP method.
"This works with mostly ever[y] carrier."
"Yes, we are aware of this technique, but for obvious security purposes, I am not going to detail exactly what controls our teams have in place to thwart fraudulent SIM swaps through this or similar methods," a Sprint spokesperson wrote in an email. "In addition to the system controls we have in place, any time we become aware of harmful techniques being utilized by bad actors or industry wide issues, we alert our frontline reps and refresh them on their training to further help protect our customers."
A T-Mobile spokesperson said in a statement, "These fraudulent SIM swaps are criminal attacks that impact the entire industry. We have a number of measures in place to identify and prevent them and as fraudsters evolve, so do we."
Verizon did not respond.
On Thursday, Senator Ron Wyden and other lawmakers' letter to the FCC read, “Consumers have no choice but to rely on phone companies to protect them against SIM swaps—and they need to be able to count on the FCC to hold mobile carriers accountable when they fail to secure their systems and thus harm consumers."

July 10, 2017

Trump Lies About Russia Hacking

On the eve of his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump made some questionable claims about the U.S. intelligence community’s finding that Russia hacked into U.S. political organizations to interfere in the 2016 presidential election:
  • Trump said the computer hacking “could have been other people and other countries.” There is no evidence for that. U.S. intelligence has named only Russia as the culprit. A Jan. 6 report based on the work of three intelligence agencies said Putin “ordered” a broad “influence campaign” to help elect Trump.
  • Trump claimed former President Barack Obama “did nothing” from August to Nov. 8 about Russia meddling in the election. That’s wrong. Among other things, Obama spoke to Putin about the issue in September, and his administration worked with state officials from mid-August until Election Day to prevent voting systems from being hacked.
The president made his remarks during a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw on July 6. Trump made the stop in Poland on his way to a Group of 20 summit meeting in Germany, where he is scheduled to meet with Putin on July 7.

‘Other Countries’?

Hallie Jackson of NBC News asked the president if he would “once and for all, yes or no, definitively say that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.” He gave a less-than-definitive answer.
Trump, July 6: I think it was Russia. And I think it could have been other people and other countries. It could have been a lot of people interfered. I’ve said it very simply. I think it could very well have been Russia but I think it could very well have been other countries, and I won’t be specific. But I think a lot of people interfere. I think it has been happening for a long time. It has been happening for many, many years.
There is no evidence that other countries were involved in the cyberattacks.
The Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement on Oct. 7, 2016, that said the U.S. intelligence community is “confident” that hacks into the email systems of the Democratic Party and its officials were directed by “Russia’s senior most officials.” The U.S. intelligence community includes 17 separate intelligence agencies.
“Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there,” the statement said. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”
After the election, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a declassified report on Jan. 6 that went even further. That report said that “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump” and that “Putin ordered an influence campaign” to help Trump and damage his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The 25-page report was “drafted and coordinated” among three intelligence agencies — the CIA, FBI and the National Security Agency — based on “intelligence information collected and disseminated by those three agencies.”
Among other things, the report said, Russian military intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee computers from July 2015 to June 2016 and then used WikiLeaks, and “Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be an independent Romanian hacker,” to publicly release hacked emails and documents. The cyberattacks and public release of hacked material were part of larger “Russian propaganda efforts” to hurt Clinton and help Trump, the report said.
“Russia’s state-run propaganda machine — comprised of its domestic media apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a network of quasi-government trolls — contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences,” the report said. “State-owned Russian media made increasingly favorable comments about President-elect Trump as the 2016 US general and primary election campaigns progressed while consistently offering negative coverage of Secretary Clinton.”
In sworn testimony before the Senate intelligence committee on June 8, former FBI Director James Comey said there should be no confusion that Russia interfered with the election.
Comey, June 8: There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. They did with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. It was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government. There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community and the members of this committee have seen the intelligence. It’s not a close call. That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get. It is very, very serious, which is why it’s so refreshing to see a bipartisan focus on that. This is about America, not about a particular party.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Trump has questioned U.S. intelligence on Russia. He did so before and after winning the election, sometimes in the same way as he did at his Warsaw press conference.
After the election, Trump issued a statement on Dec. 9 that compared U.S. intelligence on Russia’s election meddling to U.S. intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. At his press conference in Poland, Trump again raised the issue of WMDs. He said “everybody was 100 percent sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction,” but faulty intelligence “led to one big mess.”
And, as he did in Poland, Trump told Time magazine in a Nov. 28, 2016, interview: “It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”
But no evidence to date has emerged that China or any other country was involved.
Update, July 7: Two House members – a Republican and a Democrat – said they have seen no evidence that any country other than Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
CNN’s John Berman asked Rep. Jim Himes in a July 6 interview: “[H]ave you seen any evidence that any other country besides Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 election?” Himes, a Democratic member of the House intelligence committee, responded, “None. None.”
Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a July 7 interview on MSNBC that the intelligence reports and briefings that he has received show “very clear and convincing evidence that it was a nation state attack by Russia.”
Share The Facts
Donald Trump
President of the United States

Claimed the computer hacking of U.S. political organizations during the 2016 presidential election “could have been other people and other countries.” 

March 15, 2017

Two Russian Spies (FSB) are Indicted Over Yahoo Hacking

The FBI issued a series of  anted” posters for Russians accused of cybercrimes 
Wednesday, including Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, who is alleged 
to be a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer.
Courtesy of FBI
Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET
The Justice Department has announced charges against four people, including two Russian security officials, over cybercrimes linked to a massive hack of millions of Yahoo user accounts.
Two of the defendants — Dmitry Dokuchaev and his superior Igor Sushchin — are officers of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB. According to court documents, they "protected, directed, facilitated and paid" two criminal hackers, Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov, to access information that has intelligence value. Belan also allegedly used the information obtained for his personal financial gain.
"The criminal conduct at issue, carried out and otherwise facilitated by officers from an FSB unit that serves as the FBI's point of contact in Moscow on cybercrime matters, is beyond the pale," Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said.

Both Alexsey Belan (left) and Dmitry Dokuchaev (right) were included 
in the series of wanted" posters for Russians accused 
of cybercrimes Wednesday.
Courtesy of FBI
She told reporters that U.S. investigators believe Dokuchaev and Sushchin were working in their official capacity as FSB agents at the time.
Baratov was arrested Tuesday in Canada. NPR's Greg Myre reports that the U.S. plans to seek his extradition, and that three other defendants are in Russia, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S.

Belan is one of the world's most notorious hackers. There's an Interpol "Red Notice" for his arrest, and he has been listed as one of the FBI's Most Wanted hackers since 2012.
"Rather than arrest him, however, the FSB officers used him," the indictment reads. It alleges that the officers also "provided him with sensitive FSB law enforcement and intelligence information that would have helped him avoid detection by law enforcement."
The massive hack against at least 500 million Yahoo user accounts happened in 2014. The company publicly acknowledged the breach last September, saying at the time that it believed a "state-sponsored actor" was responsible, without naming any foreign government. The disclosure prompted an investigation by U.S. authorities.
Some of the accounts breached had obvious intelligence value. According to court documents, these included: "Russian journalists and politicians critical of the Russian government; Russian citizens and government officials; former officials from countries bordering Russia; and U.S. government officials, including cyber security, diplomatic, military, and White House personnel."
Other targets included businesses, such as a Russian investment banking firm as well as "a French transportation company; U.S. financial services and private equity firms; a Swiss bitcoin and banking firm; and a U.S. airline."
The court documents state that Belan "provided his FSB conspirators ... with the unauthorized access to Yahoo's network." He is also accused of using the access to the network for personal financial gain. For example, he allegedly stole financial and gift card information from the Yahoo accounts, and implemented a spam marketing scheme that impacted millions of users, according to the documents.
Baratov allegedly helped the FSB agents access accounts at other providers such as Google, often assisted by information stolen from the breached Yahoo accounts. He was allegedly paid about $100 per account accessed.  
The company has also indicated in regulatory filings that forged cookies may have been used to access user accounts. It said today that those cookies are also part of the alleged Russian security breach.
"We appreciate the FBI's diligent investigative work and the DOJ's decisive action to bring to justice those responsible for the crimes against Yahoo and its users," the company said in a statement Wednesday. "We're committed to keeping our users and our platforms secure and will continue to engage with law enforcement to combat cybercrime."
This wasn't the only major breach Yahoo has reported in recent years. The company revealed an even larger hacking incident impacting more than 1 billion accounts that occurred in 2013, as we reported. It's not clear whether the intrusions are related.
Today's charges are also distinct from the U.S. intelligence community's conclusionthat Russia launched an "influence campaign" in order to help President Trump win the election.
The Department of Justice is trying to ratchet up pressure on foreign hackers accused of carrying out cyberattacks on U.S. targets. Federal officials have also recently charged individuals from China and Iran over hacking allegations.
In 2014, as NPR's Carrie Johnson reported, the Department of Justice "charged five uniformed members of Unit 61398 of the People's Liberation Army of China with stealing secrets from American business competitors."
Last year, U.S. officials indicted seven hackers with links to the Iranian government for cyberattacks. "Court papers said the intruders attacked the web sites of dozens of major U.S. banks and breached controls at a dam in Rye, N.Y., raising alarms about safeguards in American infrastructure," Carrie reported.

January 10, 2017

Trump Told Russia Had Salacious Stories About Him by Intelligence

If all these reports are true and I believe that they are, then the Trump’s game of disparaging the Intelligence services makes kinda “Trump sense.” Why would he disparaging what’s going to be his services? Because he is nervous about what he has been told. He maybe he imagines that may be there are more stories (He would know) that went untold or maybe the information was going to leak out and he could just blame it on made up stories by the intelligence community whom he would say don’t like him. 
Another thing to learn from this  story is if all this is true, how nicely, with golden gloves Trump has been treated. Not Clinton, not Bush was told ahead of times what was going to come out about them; Particularly Clinton. 

People refer to the intelligence agencies belonging to the executive branch or the President elect. It is true even though he doesn’t pay for them. The american tax payer pays for them and is the least and the last to be told the truth from the agencies or Their so called government.

This posting appeared Tuesday night on The New York Times by 


 The chiefs of America’s intelligence agencies last week presented President Obama and President-elect Donald J. Trump with a summary of unsubstantiated reports that Russia had collected compromising and salacious personal information about Mr. Trump, two officials with knowledge of the briefing said.

The summary is based on memos generated by political operatives seeking to derail Mr. Trump’s candidacy. Details of the reports began circulating in the fall and were widely known among journalists and politicians in Washington.

The two-page summary, first reported by CNN, was presented as an appendix to the intelligence agencies’ report on Russian hacking efforts during the election, the officials said. The material was not corroborated, and The New York Times has not been able to confirm the claims. But intelligence agencies considered it so potentially explosive that they decided Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders needed to be told about it and informed that the agencies were actively investigating it.

Intelligence officials were concerned that the information would leak before they informed Mr. Trump of its existence, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the summary is classified and talking about it would be a felony.

On Tuesday night, Mr. Trump responded on Twitter: “FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

In an appearance recorded for NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Mr. Trump’s spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway, said of the claims in the opposition research memos, “He has said he is not aware of that.”
 Mr. Trump must not be allowed to ascend to the presidency until this is completely investigated.I always knew there had to be a sex tape and...
Since the intelligence agencies’ report on Friday that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had ordered the hacking and leaks of Democratic emails in order to hurt Mrs. Clinton and help Mr. Trump, the president-elect and his aides have said that Democrats are trying to mar his election victory.

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The decision of top intelligence officials to give the president, the president-elect and the so-called Gang of Eight — Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress and the intelligence committees — what they know to be unverified, defamatory material was extremely unusual.

The appendix summarized opposition research memos prepared mainly by a retired British intelligence operative for a Washington political and corporate research firm. The firm was paid for its work first by Mr. Trump’s Republican rivals and later by supporters of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The Times has checked on a number of the details included in the memos but has been unable to substantiate them.

The memos suggest that for many years, the Russian government of Mr. Putin has looked for ways to influence Mr. Trump, who has traveled repeatedly to Moscow to investigate real estate deals or to oversee the Miss Universe competition, which he owned for several years. Mr. Trump never completed any major deals in Russia, though he discussed them for years.

The former British intelligence officer who gathered the material about Mr. Trump is considered a competent and reliable operative with extensive experience in Russia, American officials said. But he passed on what he heard from Russian informants and others, and what they told him has not yet been vetted by American intelligence.

The memos describe sex videos involving prostitutes with Mr. Trump in a 2013 visit to a Moscow hotel. The videos were supposedly prepared as “kompromat,” or compromising material, with the possible goal of blackmailing Mr. Trump in the future.

The memos also suggest that Russian officials proposed various lucrative deals, essentially as disguised bribes in order to win influence over Mr. Trump.

The memos describe several purported meetings during the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump representatives and Russian officials to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta.
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The first hint of the F.B.I. investigation came in a Senate hearing on Tuesday in a series of questions from Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, to the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey.

Mr. Wyden, trying to draw Mr. Comey out on information he may have heard during a classified briefing, asked whether the F.B.I. had investigated the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. Mr. Comey demurred, saying he could not discuss any investigations that might or might not be underway. Mr. Wyden kept pressing, asking Mr. Comey to provide a written answer to the question before Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, because he feared there would be no declassification of the information once Mr. Trump took office.

After the hearing, Mr. Wyden posted on Twitter: “Director Comey refused to answer my question about whether the FBI has investigated Trump campaign contacts with Russia.”

The F.B.I. obtained the material long before the election, and some of the memos in the opposition research dossier are dated as early as June. But agents have struggled to confirm it, according to federal officials familiar with the investigation.

Allies of Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader from Nevada who retired at the end of the year, said the disclosures validated his call last summer for an investigation by the F.B.I. into Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

“The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount,” Mr. Reid wrote in a letter to Mr. Comey on Aug. 27.

Democrats on Tuesday night pressed for a thorough investigation of the claims in the memos. Representative Eric Swalwell of California, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, called for law enforcement to find out whether the Russian government had had any contact with Mr. Trump or his campaign.

“The president-elect has spoken a number of times, including after being presented with this evidence, in flattering ways about Russia and its dictator,” Mr. Swalwell said. “Considering the evidence of Russia hacking our democracy to his benefit, the president-elect would do a service to his presidency and our country by releasing his personal and business income taxes, as well as information on any global financial holdings.”

Repost: FBI Pays Geek Squad for Stories on Searches by Customers

The first posting of this story was pulled out of my blog. The only ones that could do that would be Google or I guess the FBI. May be the Best Buy Geeks but I doubt that one. This is not a story made up by me but has been published by more than one media blogger. Let’s see if Google would pulled all of them, as for me Im reposting the story from another blogger.     adamfoxie blog

                  Best Buy GEEK SQUAD

This story posted by . The writer is  

Best Buy has quite a support service in Geek Squad. It's the only national tech service center, and it makes house calls. I had a tech come to calibrate my HDTV set, and the difference was night and day. 
In 2014, Geek Squad brought in $1.8 billion in revenue, which was a drop from the previous year, but still accounted for 5 percent of Best Buy revenue. So, it's not insignificant. 
And it seems the geeks are making a few extra bucks. The Orange County Weekly reports that the company's repair technicians routinely search devices brought in for repair for files that could earn them $500 reward as FBI informants. 
That, ladies and gentlemen, is about as blatant a case of unconstitutional search and seizure as it gets. 

+ Also on Network World: Yahoo's secret email scans helped the FBI probe terrorists +

This revelation came out in a court case, United States of America v. Mark A. Rettenmaier. Rettenmaier is a prominent Orange County physician and surgeon who took his laptop to the Mission Viejo Best Buy in November 2011 after he was unable to start it. 
According to court records, Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal found an image of "a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck." Westphal notified his boss, who was also an FBI informant, who alerted another FBI informant—as well as the FBI itself. 

Searches without warrants

The FBI has pretty much guaranteed the case will be thrown out by its behavior, this illegal search aside. According to Rettenmaier's defense attorney, agents conducted two additional searches of the computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant for his home, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records. 
Plus, the file was found in the unallocated "trash" space, meaning it could only be retrieved by "carving" with sophisticated forensics tools. Carving (or file carving) is defined as searching for files or other kinds of objects based on content, rather than on metadata. It's used to recover old files that have been deleted or damaged. 

To prove child pornography, you have to prove the possessor knew what he had was indeed child porn. There has been a court case where files found on unallocated space did not constitute knowing possession because it's impossible to determine who put the file there and how, since it's not accessible to the user under normal circumstances. 

+ What do you think? Share your opinion about Geek Squad techs acting as FBI informants on our Facebook page +

But the real question is why in the world was a Geek Squad staffer running a carver on the laptop? His job was to get the thing running, and I doubt recovering deleted files would make much difference. The answer is $500. 
Until Best Buy ends this practice of being an FBI informant, a blatantly unconstitutional act, you should avoid Geek Squad completely. Ask your kid or grandkid or neighbor's kid if you have a problematic laptop. But stay out of Geek Squad.

December 16, 2016

Pres.Obama Promises Retaliation for Putin’s Election Hacking

“It’s not as important to know where the information comes from and how Putin shucked not a finger but both hands and 12 toted feet but what we mostly need to know this is not going to be the Syrian red line on the sand. Putin must be taught now he is crossed the line and he better not do it again. If not, we might as well assign Russia their own electoral votes on the next election.  What ever is done cannot also be something the next President recipient of Putin generosity can undue with a tweet” [Adam at adamfoxie*blog Int]

Barack Obama has warned that the US will retaliate for Russian cyberattacks during the presidential election.

According to extracts of an interview due to air on National Public Radio on Friday morning, the US president said he was waiting for a final report he has ordered into a range of Russian hacking attacks, but promised there would be a response.
“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action,” Obama said. “And we will – at a time and place of our own choosing.

“Some of it may be explicit and publicised; some of it may not be.”

The CIA has judged that the Russian cyber attacks, including the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee, were intended to influence the election in Donald Trump’s favour, according to reports. The FBI agrees that there was Russian hacking but has not as yet concluded it was intended to favour the Republican contender.

Senators from both parties have called for a congressional enquiry, while Trump himself has rejected the reports and his office has derided the CIA.

Trump weighed in on Twitter to ask if it was the “same cyberattack where it was revealed that head of the DNC illegally gave Hillary the questions to the debate?” One of the hacked emails, from interim DNC head Donna Brazile, said that a woman from Flint, Michigan, would ask at a primary debate with Bernie Sanders what Clinton would do as president to help people in the town suffering from a lead-contaminated water supply. 

He earlier tweeted: “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”

In fact, the intelligence community had issued its statement on 7 October, a full month before polling day.

Obama said he would reserve judgment on Moscow’s intentions pending a final report but he said the impact of the intervention was clear. The debate over motivation, he said “does not in any way, I think, detract from the basic point that everyone during the election perceived accurately – that in fact what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign”.

He added: “There’s no doubt that it contributed to an atmosphere in which the only focus for weeks at a time, months at a time were Hillary’s emails, the Clinton Foundation, political gossip surrounding the DNC.”

The president did not attempt to gauge the full impact of the intervention, but insisted it had had an effect.
“Elections can always turn out differently,” he said. “You never know which factors are going to make a difference. But I have no doubt that it had some impact, just based on the coverage.”

In the NPR interview, Obama expressed incredulity at Republican party support for Trump’s foreign policy positions, which have been uniformly supportive of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“This is somebody, the former head of the KGB, who is responsible for crushing democracy in Russia, muzzling the press, throwing political dissidents in jail, countering American efforts to expand freedom at every turn; is currently making decisions that’s leading to a slaughter in Syria,” the outgoing president said.

“And a big chunk of the Republican party, which prided itself during the Reagan era and for decades that followed as being the bulwark against Russian influence, now suddenly is embracing him.”

Earlier on Thursday, the White House went its furthest yet in joining the dots between Trump and Putin.

Press secretary Josh Earnest pointed reporters to a unanimous statement from all 17 intelligence agencies, issued in October, that found “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities”.

The press secretary said that in his personal view, that sentence was “not intended to be subtle”, adding that it was “pretty obvious that they were referring to the senior-most government official in Russia”.

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, agreed. “I don’t think things happen in the Russian government of this consequence without Vladimir Putin knowing about it,” he told MSNBC.

But Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told state TV channel Rossiya-24 he was “dumbstruck” by the reports of Putin’s alleged involvement. “I think this is just silly, and the futility of the attempt to convince somebody of this is absolutely obvious,” he said.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday of the hacking accusation that the US should “either stop talking about it or finally produce some evidence, otherwise it all begins to look unseemly”.

The White House said Obama would hold a press conference in Washington on Friday at 2.15pm ET (7.15pm GMT) before leaving for his annual family vacation in Hawaii.

December 15, 2016

US Voting Agency After Election Vote was Bleached

The U.S. agency charged with ensuring that voting machines meet security standards was itself penetrated by a hacker after the elections in November, according to a security firm working with law enforcement on the matter.

The security firm, Recorded Future, was monitoring underground electronic markets where hackers buy and sell wares and discovered someone offering logon credentials for access to computers at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, company executives said.

Posing as a potential buyer, the researchers engaged in a conversation with the hacker, said Levi Gundert, vice president of intelligence at the company, and Andrei Barysevich, director of advanced collection.

Eventually they discovered that the hacker had obtained the credentials of more than 100 people at the Commission after exploiting a common database vulnerability, the researchers said.

The hacker was trying to sell information about the vulnerability to a Middle Eastern government for several thousand dollars, but the researchers alerted law enforcement and said Thursday that the hole had been patched.

Created by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and led by presidential appointees, the Election Assistance Commission certifies voting systems and develops standards for technical guidelines and best practices for election officials across the country.

A spokesman for the Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An FBI spokeswoman said her agency was unlikely to comment without confirmation from the Commission.   

The researchers said that the Russian-speaking hacker had an unusual business model, in that he scanned for ways to break into all manner of businesses and other entities and then moved rapidly to sell that access, rather than stealing the data himself.

“We don’t think he actually works for any government or is super-sophisticated,” Barysevich said.

In the case of the election commission, the hacker used methods including an SQL injection, a well-known and preventable flaw, obtaining a list of usernames and obfuscated passwords, which he was then able to crack.
Though much of the Commission’s work is public, the hacker gained access to non-public reports on flaws in voting machines.

In theory, someone could have used knowledge of such flaws to attack specific machines, said Matt Blaze, an electronic voting expert and professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

The researchers were confident that the hacker moved to sell his access soon after getting it, meaning that he was not inside the system before election day. Further, the U.S. voting process is decentralized and there were no reports of widespread fraud in November.


December 14, 2016

Putin Personally Implicated with Election Hacking

 Putin as the sign portrays not America or Russia great again but the WORLD great again like if Donald and Vladimir are going to split it up the whole world between the two. Scary idea under any scenario.

NBC News reported late Wednesday night that as suspected Trump had a big hand helping him on the election. The man that Donald Trump thinks so highly of and believe of as a friend, the American people think of him being no friend of this country:

U.S. intelligence officials now believe with "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said. 

Ultimately, the CIA has assessed, the Russian government wanted to elect Donald Trump. The FBI and other agencies don't fully endorse that view, but few officials would dispute that the Russian operation was intended to harm Clinton's candidacy by leaking embarrassing emails about Democrats.

The latest intelligence said to show Putin's involvement goes much further than the information the U.S. was relying on in October, when all 17 intelligence agencies signed onto a statement attributing the Democratic National Committee hack to Russia.

The statement said officials believed that "only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities." That was an intelligence judgment based on an understanding of the Russian system of government, which Putin controls with absolute authority.

Now the U.S has solid information tying Putin to the operation, the intelligence officials say. Their use of the term "high confidence" implies that the intelligence is nearly incontrovertible.

"It is most certainly consistent with the Putin that I have watched and used to work with when I was an ambassador and in the government," said Michael McFaul, who was ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.

"He has had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, that has been known for a long time because of what she said about his elections back in the parliamentary elections of 2011. He wants to discredit American democracy and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal democratic order. And most certainly he likes President-elect Trump's views on Russia," McFaul added. Clinton cast doubt on the integrity of Russia's elections.

As part of contingency planning for potential retaliation against Russia, according to officials, U.S. intelligence agencies have stepped up their probing into his personal financial empire.
American officials have concluded that Putin's network controls some $85 billion worth of assets, officials told NBC News.

Neither the CIA nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would comment.

A former CIA official who worked on Russia told NBC News that it's not clear the U.S. can embarrass Putin, given that many Russians are already familiar with allegations he has grown rich through corruption and has ordered the killings of political adversaries.

But a currently serving U.S. intelligence official said that there are things Putin is sensitive about, including anything that makes him seem weak.

The former CIA official said the Obama administration may feel compelled to respond before it leaves office.

"This whole thing has heated up so much," he said. “I can very easily see them saying, `We can't just say wow, this was terrible and there's nothing we can do.'"


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