CIA Director Met Advocate Of Disputed DNC Hack Theory — At Trump’s Request

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By Duncan Campbell and James Risen for The Intercept – CIA DIRECTOR MIKE Pompeo met late last month with a former U.S. intelligence official who has become an advocate for a disputed theory that the theft of the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the 2016 presidential campaign was an inside job, rather than a hack by Russian intelligence. Pompeo met on October 24 with William Binney, a former National Security Agency official-turned-whistleblower who co-authored an analysis published by a group of former intelligence officials that challenges the U.S. intelligence community’s official assessment that Russian intelligence was behind last year’s theft of data from DNC computers. Binney and the other former officials argue that the DNC data was “leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to the DNC’s computer system. In an interview with The Intercept, Binney said Pompeo told him that President Donald Trump had urged the CIA director to meet with Binney to discuss his assessment that the DNC data theft was an inside job. During their hour-long meeting at CIA headquarters, Pompeo said Trump told him that if Pompeo “want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” Binney said. A senior intelligence source confirmed that Pompeo met with Binney to discuss his analysis, and that the CIA director held the meeting at Trump’s urging.

Madrid As A Democracy Lab

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By Bernardo Gutierrez for Open Democracy – During the occupation of Puerta del Sol in Madrid in 2011, the hackers at the core of Madrid’s 15M developed a platform for anyone to make political proposals. Designed in free software, the Propongo platform allowed users to put forward ideas which could then be voted on. The operational arrangement was pretty simple: decentralized proposals, from the bottom up. The State of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), where participatory budgets came to light in 1989, used part of the Propongo code and its philosophy for the Digital Cabinet, its star citizen participation project. In Spain, the political class turned its back on the Indignados. On the other side of Propongo, no one was there. No local, regional or state government listened to the new music coming out of the squares – and even less to the proposals. Meanwhile, collective intelligence and networking in the squares were developing sophisticated mechanisms for participation and deliberation, both online and face-to-face. The powerful technopolitics made in Spain conquered the hearts of activists all over the world. And the hearts of some foreign academics and politicians too.

Hackers Breach Dozens Of Voting Machines Brought To Conference

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By Joe Uchill for The Hill – LAS VEGAS — One of the nation’s largest cybersecurity conferences is inviting attendees to get hands-on experience hacking a slew of voting machines, demonstrating to researchers how easy the process can be. “It took me only a few minutes to see how to hack it,” said security consultant Thomas Richards, glancing at a Premier Election Solutions machine currently in use in Georgia. The DEF CON cybersecurity conference is held annually in Las Vegas. This year, for the first time, the conference is hosting a “Voting Machine Village,” where attendees can try to hack a number of systems and help catch vulnerabilities. The conference acquired 30 machines for hackers to toy with. Every voting machine in the village was hacked. Though voting machines are technologically simple, they are difficult for researchers to obtain for independent research. The machine that Richards learned how to hack used beneath-the-surface software, known as firmware, designed in 2007. But a number of well-known vulnerabilities in that firmware have developed over the past decade. “I didn’t come in knowing what to expect, but I was surprised by what I found,” he said. He went on to list a number of actions he hoped states would take to help secure machines, including increasing testing opportunities for outside hackers and transparency in voting machine design.

Time To Reassess The Roles Played By Guccifer 2.0 And Russia In The DNC ‘Hack’

Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., in June 2016. (Paul Holston / AP)

By Scott Ritter for Truth Dig – The current American political canonical theology holds as an incontrovertible truth that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. According to this dogma, which has been actively promulgated by former and current government officials and echoed by an unquestioning mainstream media, Russian intelligence services, directed by President Vladimir Putin, conducted cyber-operations against targets associated with the U.S. election for the purpose of denigrating the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, to help her opponent, Donald Trump. Adherence to this conclusion is mandatory, lest one be accused of challenging the gospel according to the U.S. intelligence community. “Russia did it,” Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat who serves on the House Judiciary and the Foreign Affairs committees, has declared. “There’s no rational person who looked at evidence and concluded otherwise.” While Rep. Lieu himself is not on the House Intelligence Committee and, as such, has not seen the evidence he cites, his fellow representative, Adam Schiff, the Democratic co-chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has. When President Trump dared question the findings of the U.S. intelligence community on Russia, Schiff lashed out.

Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence

The Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin: Did the Russians hack U.S. election databases? (Yahoo News photo illustration, photos: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters, AP, AP)

By Staff of Consortium News – Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted. Independent analyst Skip Folden, a retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US, who examined the recent forensic findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum.

DNC Servers Were Locally Hacked, Making Russian Interference Unlikely

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By Staff of Mint Press News – WASHINGTON, D.C.– In the latest complication for the “Russiagate” scandal, a new analysis has suggested that files and email stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were copied to a USB drive by someone with physical access to a computer that had DNC server access, indicating that the committee’s records were not hacked remotely by foreign actors, as has been alleged. The DNC’s stolen files were published by the hacker “Guccifer 2.0,” whose name is an homage to the Romanian hacker Guccifer, who gained notoriety for hacking the Bush and Rockefeller families among other U.S. government officials. Guccifer 2.0, despite professing that he is a Romanian and affiliated with no government, was cited as an agent of Russian military intelligence by the private cyber security firm Crowdstrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the hack. However, an independent investigator working under the pseudonym “The Forensicator” has released a new analysis of the metadata found in the files published by Guccifer 2.0. The analysis shows that the files, published as a .7z archive file, were transferred from the server at a speed of 23 MB/second, leading the investigator to conclude that it was “unlikely that this initial data transfer could have been done remotely over the Internet.”

The Undeniable Pattern Of Russian Hacking (Updated)

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By Staff of Moon of Alabama – The undeniable patter of “Russian hacking” is that any claim thereof is likely not true and will be debunked in due time. These remarks on the “Russian hacking” allegation in relation to the U.S. election are therefore quite appropriate: President Trump again cast a skeptical eye on intelligence community assessments that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election, saying Thursday while on a visit to Poland that “nobody really knows for sure” what happened…Trump also compared the intelligence about Russian interference with the faulty assessment that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in 2002, which provided President Bush with a justification to go to war. “Guess what, they were wrong, and that led to one big mess,” he said.

Hackers Hit 75% Of Drillers As Sketchy Monitoring Is Blamed

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By Giacomo Tognini for Bloomberg – Three out of four oil and natural gas companies fell victim to at least one cyber attack last year as hacking efforts against the industry become more frequent and sophisticated. That’s the finding from a report released Monday by industry consultant Deloitte LLP. Technology advances, such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s recent control of operations in Argentina from an operating center in Canada, offer new openings for hackers, the authors wrote. At the same time, older equipment retrofitted for cybersecurity, including the pumps known as nodding donkeys, make it tougher to defend against sophisticated attacks. A day after the report was released, Rosneft PJSC said its servers were hacked, forcing Russia’s largest crude producer to switch to a backup system. Less than half of drillers use any monitoring tools on their upstream operations networks, the report found. Of those, only 14 percent have fully operational security monitoring centers. When the authors visited the oil fields it “was like walking into the 1980s, with shared passwords and passwords written down on paper,” said Paul Zonneveld, a senior partner at Deloitte in Calgary, by phone. A 2011 cyber attack dubbed “Night Dragon” stole exploration and bidding data from oil majors including Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc.

Wikileaks Unveils ‘Cherry Blossom’ — Wireless Hacking System Used By CIA

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By Swati Khandelwal for The Hacker News – WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak, this time detailing a framework – which is being used by the CIA for monitoring the Internet activity of the targeted systems by exploiting vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi devices. Dubbed “Cherry Blossom,” the framework was allegedly designed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with the help of Stanford Research Institute (SRI International), an American nonprofit research institute, as part of its ‘Cherry Bomb’ project. Cherry Blossom is basically a remotely controllable firmware-based implant for wireless networking devices, including routers and wireless access points (APs), which exploits router vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access and then replace firmware with custom Cherry Blossom firmware. “An implanted device [called Flytrap] can then be used to monitor the internet activity of and deliver software exploits to targets of interest.” a leaked CIA manual reads.

FBI Arrests NSA Contractor Who Leaked Top Secret “Russian Hacking” Document To The Intercept

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By Tyler Durden for Zero Hedge – Earlier this afternoon, the Intercept reported that according to a “top secret NSA document”, Russian Military Intelligence “executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before election.” The NSA document, reportedly dated May 5, analyzes recently acquired intelligence about “a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure.” The document notes that investigation only began in the last few months. The document claims the investigation was spurred by “information that became available in April 2017.” According to the Intercept, the report is “the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light. It is said to reveal that that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than was previously understood” and “states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document.”

The Russian Hacking Fiasco

The Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin: Did the Russians hack U.S. election databases? (Yahoo News photo illustration, photos: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters, AP, AP)

By Mike Whitney for Information Clearing House – There’s no proof that Russian officials or Russian agents colluded with members of the Trump campaign. There’s no proof that Russia provided material support of any kind for the Trump campaign or that Russian agents hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails or that Russian officials provided Wikileaks with emails that were intended to sabotage Hillary’s chances to win the election. So far, no one in any of the 17 US intelligence agencies has stepped forward and verified the claims of Russian meddling or produced a scintilla of hard evidence that Russia was in anyway involved in the 2016 elections. No proof means no proof. It means that the people and organizations that are making these uncorroborated claims have no basis for legal action, no presumption of wrongdoing, and no grounds for prosecution. They have nothing. Zilch. Their claims, charges and accusations are like the soap bubbles we give to our children and grandchildren. The brightly-colored bubbles wobble across the sky for a minute or two and then, Poof, they vanish into the ether. The claims of Russia hacking are like these bubbles. They are empty, unsubstantiated rumors completely devoid of substance. Poof.

NSA-Leaking Shadow Brokers Just Dumped Its Most Damaging Release Yet

Enlarge / A computer screen displaying Eternalromance, one of the hacking tools dumped Friday by Shadow Brokers.

By Dan Goodin for ARS Technica – None of the exploits reported below are, in fact, zerodays that work against supported Microsoft products. Readers should read this update for further details. What follows is the post as it was originally reported. The Shadow Brokers—the mysterious person or group that over the past eight months has leaked a gigabyte worth of the National Security Agency’s weaponized software exploits—just published its most significant release yet. Friday’s dump contains potent exploits and hacking tools that target most versions of Microsoft Windows and evidence of sophisticated hacks on the SWIFT banking system of several banks across the world. Friday’s release—which came as much of the computing world was planning a long weekend to observe the Easter holiday—contains close to 300 megabytes of materials the leakers said were stolen from the NSA. The contents (a convenient overview is here) included compiled binaries for exploits that targeted vulnerabilities in a long line of Windows operating systems, including Windows 8 and Windows 2012. It also included a framework dubbed Fuzzbunch, a tool that resembles the Metasploit hacking framework that loads the binaries into targeted networks.

Did CIA Kill Reporter Investigating John Brennan?

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By Ralph Lopez for Hub Pages – Emails leaked in 2012 by Wikileaks paint a portrait of CIA Director John Brennan as a fierce partisan for the Obama administration who was behind “witch hunts of investigative journalists” while he was a White House national security advisor during Obama’s first term. The CIA is the primary agency now suggesting that Russia hacked the US election, without ever addressing evidence that the 2016 Democratic primary nomination was hacked by supporters of Hillary Clinton. Brennan was to be the subject of an article by Rolling Stone reporter…

Vault 7: CIA Hacking Tools Revealed

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By Staff of Wikileaks – Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named “Vault 7″ by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency. The first full part of the series, “Year Zero”, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election. Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits…

Seymour Hersh Blasts Media For Uncritically Promoting Russian Hacking Story

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By Jeremy Scahill for The Intercept – PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING journalist Seymour Hersh said in an interview that he does not believe the U.S. intelligence community proved its case that President Vladimir Putin directed a hacking campaign aimed at securing the election of Donald Trump. He blasted news organizations for lazily broadcasting the assertions of U.S. intelligence officials as established facts. Hersh denounced news organizations as “crazy town” for their uncritical promotion of the pronouncements of the director of national intelligence and the CIA, given their track records of lying and misleading the public. “The way they behaved on the Russia stuff was outrageous,” Hersh said when I sat down with him at his home in Washington, D.C., two days after Trump was inaugurated.