OBAMA VOWS RETALIATION FOR HACK
The White House is promising unspecified retaliation against Russia for its hacking operation aimed at influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
“The president has made it clear that we will take action to protect our interests, including in cyberspace, and we will do so at a time and place of our choosing,” a senior administration official told Inside the Ring. “Consistent with the practice we have adopted in the past, the public should not assume that they will necessarily know what actions have been taken or what actions we will take.”
Critics say the administration in the past has failed to take appropriate retaliatory actions against cyberattacks, such as after the North Korean hacking against Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014.
Now the Russians have been linked to hacking against the U.S. political campaign.
A joint statement issued Friday by the Department of Homeland Security and office of the Director of National Intelligence stated that “senior-most” officials in the Russian government approved the hacking. The statement said U.S. intelligence agencies are “confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.”
“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the statement said.
“These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” it added. “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.”
Intelligence agencies have been unable to link recent scanning of election-related networks in Arizona and Illinois to the Russians, although the scanning “originated from servers operated by a Russian company.”
Additionally, American intelligence agencies say it would be extremely difficult for hackers, even those working for nation-states, to alter ballot counts or election results through cyber attacks or intrusions.
State election authorities were urged to avoid linking voting machines to the internet.
Homeland Security has set up an Election Infrastructure Cybersecurity Working Group to educate state officials on cyber security for election infrastructure.
The administration official said: “The American public and our democracy are resilient to foreign attempts to manipulate public opinion. The U.S. government is committed to ensuring a secure election process and has robust capabilities to detect efforts to interfere with our elections.”
Documents and emails held by the Democratic National Committee were hacked along with the email account of John Podesta, campaign chairman for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The Podesta emails, dating from 2008, include revealing details of internal discussions by Mrs. Clinton’s advisers on her email scandal, including discussions of how to deflect criticism for her use of an unsecure email server while she was secretary of state.
One email from August 2015 included a draft of a statement by Mrs. Clinton explaining why she used the private email. Clinton adviser Dan Schwerin says a revised version of the statement is “not defiant but not particularly contrite either.”
Mr. Podesta’s emails contain personal information that could be used by hackers and others, including his Social Security number and home address.