If anyone had any doubts earlier, this might be the last nail in the coffin people terming outside intervention as a conspiracy theory. The United States has officially accused Russia of tampering with the 2016 presidential election.
A joint report was issued on Thursday by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security which claims that Russian intelligence operatives breach the security of “a U.S. political party”—presumably the Democratic National Committee— two times before the elections and stole confidential files from the database.
The released reports supplement the recent announcement of USA’s sanctions against Russia, which include the expulsion of 35 diplomats. There were previous reports of the hacking of the DNC, leading to a spark of various conspiracies and accusations of bias. Cybersecurity investigating the DNC also found similar results and pointed out strategies being used to steal files and other security credentials by “state-sponsored hackers.”
The FBI/DHS has now released a handy infographic to make people understand the mechanism used for hacking and has also given the Russian operation a name: Grizzly Steppe. This involves the method used to send out links by the Russians and then collecting the sensitive data and installing malicious programs. Besides the Democrat party, the report also points that breaches could have been made against government organizations, think tanks, universities, and corporations.
“Actors likely associated with [Russian Intelligence Services] are continuing to engage in spearphishing campaigns, including one launched as recently as November 2016, just days after the U.S. election,” the report states.
The report was supported by a joint statement from Jeh Johnson, who is the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and James Clapper, the director of national intelligence. The statement read like this,
“the intelligence community is confident the Russian Government directed recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations, and that the disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DC.Leaks.com and WikiLeaks are consistent with the Russian-directed efforts.”
What are your views on the reports? Do you think expelling Russian diplomats was the appropriate response? Are we on the brink of another cold war, or even worse? Comment below!