All we have heard in the media for the last few weeks is that the Russians hacked the election. However, a new report may be bringing those stories to a close.
The FBI released a Joint Analysis Report regarding the Russians’ influence in the 2016 election. When Wikileaks saw it, they pointed out in a tweet that the report from the country’s top investigatory agency has a disclaimer on it that says, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”
This unreliable report discusses an intrusion into U.S. intelligence systems back in 2015 as well as the intrusion during the summer of the presidential election. The hackers appeared to enter neutral cyberspace to target their victims who were either U.S. personnel or computer systems within a U.S. political party.
The 2015 cyber attack used emails that tricked users into clicking on links containing malware. When the email was accessed, it would give the hacker access to the victim’s computer. This person then delivered the malware to computer systems within the political party.
A similar attack occurred in the summer of 2016 when users within the DNC were sent emails that prompted users to change their password, as was the case with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. When they did so, the hackers would gain access to their accounts and then steal information from their computers.
Americans are accustomed to these types of fake emails and deal with them on a daily basis. It is funny that the FBI had to issue a 13-page report essentially saying don’t open suspicious emails.
The report leaves out the fact that the Russians also allegedly attempted to hack into the RNC but were unsuccessful because the RNC had better security systems and apparently were not as stupid because they did not open fake emails sent from hackers.
The report goes on to list usernames the FBI wants to link to personnel in Russia, but there is no evidence to link these usernames with particular actors in Russia. There is only the appearance that the users are from Russia and the allegations of agencies under DNC control.
Then, the report lists some best practices to prevent this type of hacking, such as backing up data, risk analysis, training staff, whitelisting of applications, and penetration testing. It’s sad that the DNC needs formal training not to open unknown emails. However, it actually goes along with their philosophy that they do not know how to do something unless the government tells them.
The real issue is why does the Department of Homeland Security not think that the contents of this report are reliable? If they did, they would have been able to provide a disclaimer that said it had been reviewed by DHS and that the department approves its contents.
Instead, you have a disclaimer that essentially says that the contents of the report are not worth the paper they are printed on. You would think with all the funding the federal government has that they could have at least one other government agency reveal this report’s contents.
Sadly, the taxpayers probably paid millions of dollars for this worthless report, and it is just another example of “government speak” where they say something but then say the information is completely unreliable. They could have just released this article with me saying don’t open weird emails!