Russian links in disinformation campaign

Washington Post: Researchers say they’ve uncovered a disinformation campaign with apparent Russian link

Researchers have discovered an extensive, international hacking campaign that steals documents from its targets, carefully modifies them and repackages them as disinformation aimed at undermining civil society and democratic institutions, according to a study released Thursday.

The investigators say the campaign shows clear signs of a Russian link.

Although the study by the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto does not demonstrate a direct tie to the Kremlin, it suggests the attackers are aiming to discredit the Kremlin’s opponents. The report also demonstrates overlap with cyberattacks used in the U.S. and French presidential elections, which American and European intelligence agencies and cybersecurity companies have attributed to Russian government-affiliated hacking groups.

The campaign has targeted more than 200 government officials, military leaders and diplomats from 39 countries,  as well as journalists, activists, a former Russian prime minister and a prominent critic of President Vladi­mir Putin. The attackers seek to hack into email accounts using phishing techniques, steal documents and slightly alter them while retaining the appearance of authenticity. These forgeries, which the researchers have dubbed “tainted leaks,” are then released along with unaltered documents and publicized as legitimate leaks.

“Tainted leaks plant fakes in a forest of facts in an attempt to make them credible by association with genuine, stolen documents,” John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the Citizen Lab.  “Tainted leaks are a clever and concerning tool for spreading falsehoods. We expect to see many more of them in the future.”

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38 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  May 26, 2017

    Washington Post headline: “Researchers say they’ve uncovered a disinformation campaign with apparent Russian link”

    From the article;

    “The investigators say the campaign shows clear signs of a Russian link.”

    “Although the study by the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto does not demonstrate a direct tie to the Kremlin”

  2. David

     /  May 26, 2017

    What a load of cobblers but good try leftie students. If Podesta,s emails were doctored why didnt he just show the original “correct” one. This is some sonowflake who cant get his head around that the rest of the country think different to him and its a little upsetting for the poor petal

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  May 26, 2017

      The report is not about the Podesta emails, it’s about David Satter.
      It’s not by ‘a’ person, but 5.
      And the ‘rest of the country’ is Canada.

      Dumb Cuck.

  3. I will put this one from WaPo in the Dunny file. Totally incredible and defies logic as well as normal journalistic standards. To me this sort of reporting just underlines how close we are getting to the truth and the other dominos will soon fall. God help America!

  4. I should also add, that the following summary shows evidence of people connected to Podesta and the Uranium One deal that does right to the heart of Hilary Clinton’s perfidy.
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3554769/posts

    • Gezza

       /  May 26, 2017

      Well, I don’t trust Clinton, but I don’t like what I’m hearing about Trump’s connections to the Saudis Bj. I won’t be sending Sean any more intel.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 26, 2017

    Crap detector reading 97%. Why on earth “slightly alter” when any email shown to have been tampered with will discredit the entire campaign?

    Pure WaPo b.s. IMHO.

  6. You may of may not know that there is a class action Law suit against the DNC Committee and Chairperson (then) Debbie Wasserman-Shultz. This action is by donors to the DNC seeking return of their donations on the grounds that the DNC deliberately supported Hilary Clinton as candidate for President rather than adopting a neutral position in accordance with the DNC constitution. As part of the evidence in the trail, the Plaintiffs have a copy of a CONFIDENTIAL memo issued by Debbie that describes in detail the line to be taken to ensure HRC gets the nomination. It is a compelling statement of the extent of malfeasance by the DNC.
    http://jampac.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/8-1-D.E.-8-1-Exh-1-7-13-16.pdf
    All of the documentation related to the trail is at
    http://jampac.us/DNCLawsuit/

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  May 27, 2017

      That document is an outline of how to broach the campaign pledges of the Republican candidates during their selection process. Not what you describe at all.

      • Bullshit AC. Read the complaint, second reference. It is clearly Democrat donors suing for return of their donations from the DNC. The following is part of the complaint which is in the references I provided. You can read the whole complaint in slow time.

        “130. Despite the requirements in the Charter, and in spite of the multiple public
        declarations of neutrality and impartiality with respect to the Democratic primary process, the
        DNC was not neutral. To the contrary, the DNC was biased in favor of one candidate – Hillary
        Clinton (“Clinton”) – from the beginning and throughout the process. The DNC devoted its
        considerable resources to supporting Clinton above any of the other Democratic candidates.
        Through its public claims to being neutral and impartial, the DNC actively concealed its bias
        from its own donors as well as donors to the campaigns of Clinton’s rivals, including Bernie
        Sanders (“Sanders”).
        131. The truth of the DNC’s deception started to come to public light in June 2016. ”
        The serving agent for the summons died in his bathroom within a week of issuing the summons from an overdose of refined opiate, and another figure connected with the case was found dead on the beach shortly after. The DNC tried to have the case thrown out because of incomplete service of the summons. They didn’t know the lawyer in the case has a video of the process of the service.
        Meanwhile Debbie Wasserman Shultz id trying to get back the laptop used by Irwan Awan the Pakistani “spy” who was running her IT network. The New York Police have refused to hand it over as it is evidence in the Awan brother’s spy case. Debbie’s response on video tape was to threaten the Police Chief that “there will be consequences.

        • Anonymous Coward

           /  May 27, 2017

          I’m talking about the ‘confidential memo’, read it again – it’s not what you say it is.

          Too much of the conspiracy kool-aid has affected your judgement.

          • No AC it is you who does not understand what Exhibit 1 actually is. It is the summarry of the DNC’s strategy to undermine and “muddy” the Republican campaign. If you can’t understand the significance of the memo, I can’t help you, I am starting to wonder what is driving you and your comments. Fortunately I am far ahead of you in the understanding of what is going on. Fact. Pleas do not denigrate me personally when I have no other pursuit than the real truth. What the hell is Koolaid? I drink water, lots of it.

            • Gezza

               /  May 27, 2017

              On the off chance you really don’t know, Bj, Kool-aid is an oft-used phrase referring to the cyanide-laced flavoured drink taken by around 900 followers of Rev Jim Jones in the Jonestown mass murder & mass suicide in Guyana in November 1978.

              Although Jones actually used poisoned Flavor Aid, the drink was commonly referred to as Kool-Aid. This has led to the phrase “Drinking the Kool-Aid” to refer to a person holding an unquestioned belief, argument, or philosophy without critical examination.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  May 27, 2017

              Just because you’ve seen it written down doesn’t make it any different than any election campaign ever.
              There is nothing sinister, no smoking gun. Just a memo about how to position the Democrat line, and drive the conversation around candidates.

              You realise there’ll be nearly identical documents within the G.O.P.

              As to what’s driving me? I find your conspiracies too hard to ignore, your sources too easy to de-bunk, your conclusions too wrong.

            • That is of course your right. We shall see where the truth lies in the next 10 days.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  May 28, 2017

              The next 10 days wont change anything about “exhibit 1”, it’ll still be an innocent rundown of where to focus the talking points.
              As to the case, aren’t they waiting for a decision on whether to throw it out or not?

            • Yes the DNC is trying ri get it dismissed. The Court case is in Debbie Wasserman Shulz electoral area and the judge hearing the case has a very conservative reputation and is highly regarded as a justice. The first DNC attempt to have the case thown out was based on a claim of inadequate service of the summons. The serving officer was found dead in his bathroom and the autopsy shows “a strange mixture of drugs” as a killing overdose. Unfortunately for Debbie and the DNC, the lawyer for the plaintiffs has a video of the service that demolished the case. The second appeal for dismissal is based on a claim that the DNC were not required to be unbiased or fair in their selection of the DNC candidate. TheJudge is reviewing his decision. By the way Exhibit is only one part of the evidence showing deliberate activity to ensure Hilary was elected. the other evidence includes the DNC constitution that requires them to be unbiased in their selection, a position Debbie loudly claimed she was following. Her actions were completely wrong. Sorry AC you are backing a wrong horse. However the truth will soon out.
              Separately the DNC pla for impeachment of Trump is projected to occur within 6 months from his inauguration. The story for the DNC will be copies of emails to be produced by Guccifer 2 indicting Trump. Guccifer 2 will be unmasked as JEVGEN BOGATSJOV according to reputed Dutch Intelligence contacts. As I say, we shall see.

            • Gezza

               /  May 28, 2017

              Reputed Dutch Intelligence contacts?

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  May 28, 2017

              “By the way Exhibit is only one part of the evidence showing deliberate activity to ensure Hilary was elected”

              That is the very definition of the job a political party has to do at election time.
              Hasn’t Guccifer 2 already been exposed as a phoney?
              You’re at the Kool-Aid again.
              I looked up JEVGENI BOGATSJOV and all I find is a You Tube conspiracist in a noisy room struggling to translate a dutch newspaper from march that says nothing at all about this guy being Gucifer 2, just that the FBI want him, but not what for. This Webb guy then supposes it is Gucifer 2 and then here we are.
              If that’s the amount of proof you require to believe something then you are always going to come unstuck with your wild theories.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  May 28, 2017

              If you cant even get the name right what else have you got wrong.
              EVGENIY MIKHAILOVICH BOGACHEV is wanted for a trojan virus called Zeus that was used to commit bank and identity fraud.

              Go to the sources BJ, not the YouTube nut-jobs.

              https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/cyber/evgeniy-mikhailovich-bogachev

            • I am sorry my attention to detail does not meet your high standards AC. I will try to do better next time to not omit material I thought was unnecessary to the main point, that you have studiously tried to avoid. The pace is heating up. Susan Rice is now asking for immunity
              http://www.angrypatriotmovement.com/obama-official-seeks-immunity/
              OH and FISA court has reportedly found Obama guilty of misuse of “unmasking law”
              And also, senior Democrats have been exposed to blackmail tactics from the Awan tribe who have fled to Pakistan and are under Govt protection. The sad thing is that almost certainly there is a working server in the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC (Google Earth its location) now linked into all of the up to 400 Blackberry phones in Congress that have been synced to the server. Its not Russia the Democrats should be worried about it is the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic jihadi’s who are enjoying the spoils of the interception as shown by the failure of the US Special Ops raid into Syria? that was clearly blown to Al Quaeda in the Peninsular?
              Have a look for yourself

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  May 28, 2017

              Another YouTube Conspiracist? These guys are not trustworthy, what they say fits your narrative but it’s just fantasist bullshit.

            • “Another YouTube Conspiracist? These guys are not trustworthy, what they say fits your narrative but it’s just fantasist bullshit.”
              I gather you don’t agree. But then you know it all. Read what you said, it does not add one bit of new information. You are wasting oxygen.

  7. Its a plan of course not a pla! Apologies.

  8. Oh AC I forgot to add, I was able to find the Dutch Intelligence report about Guccifer 2 that I found so your research lacks credibility. The point is that the Democratic media misinformation plan has been blown and we shall see , as I say regularly. That is shorthand for “No I am not yet convinced but will wait and see. you now I actually am not giftrd with the ability to have a monopoly of the truth like you, and I am prepared to learn more. But hey, how about adding to the conversation rather than using ad hominen attacks to denigrate something that does not meet your narrative, it really gets a bit tiresome at my age.

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  May 28, 2017

      Wheres your report?

    • Gezza

       /  May 28, 2017

      How reputable can these Dutch intelligence sources be if they’re leaking an intelligence report to blogs or media?

      • High Flying Duck

         /  May 28, 2017

        and where do the lizard people fit in all of this?
        If I find out Colonel Sanders & the New World Order are involved I’ll be peeved – I mean I’ve barely forgiven them for 9/11!

  9. Ah, so you don’t bother reading my posts properly. As I thought. Here is another excerpt about “Crowd strike”, you know the experts who found the Russian Hack for the DNC

    Apr 5, 2017 – EXCLUSIVE: Cybersecurity experts who were first to conclude that Putin hacked presidential election ABANDON some of their claims against Russia – and refuse to co-operate with Congress. … And the FBI, CIA, NSA and 12 other intelligence agencies published an unprecedented joint …
    CrowdStrike was hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate suspicious network activity last May. In June it declared that the committee had been hacked by the Russian government, starting a firestorm over the campaign.
    CrowdStrike, based in Irvine, California, is also the only group that the DNC allowed to directly examine its servers.

    Not even the FBI has been granted access to the servers.

    U.S. agencies have instead relied on CrowdStrike’s work. There is no other known forensic evidence which has been publicly disclosed to link the Kremlin to the attacks, including in a series of intelligence community statements and reports.

    But now questions are emerging about the reliability of the company’s findings.
    DailyMail.com can disclose that in March CrowdStrike quietly retracted portions of a December report that had made further Russian hacking claims, after the firm was found to have relied on inaccurate data posted online by a pro-Putin ‘propaganda’ blogger.
    The errors prompted both the Ukrainian military and a prominent British think tank to issue public statements disputing CrowdStrike’s data.

    The errors, and retraction, surrounded a report in December which claimed that Fancy Bear, the same Russian hackers it said were behind the DNC attacks, were working on behalf of Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.

    CrowdStrike said it found evidence that Fancy Bear had also hacked into Ukrainian military technology using the same software it used to infiltrate the DNC.
    According to the report, the hackers were targeting an app used by Ukrainian soldiers to improve the efficiency of ther 122mm howitzers. The hack resulted in Ukraine losing 80 percent of these weapons in its ongoing low-level battle with Russian forces in the east of the country, the report said.

    The report received widespread attention, including from NBC News, Foreign Policy, and The Guardian.

    Alperovitch used an interview with the Washington Post to push the report and said: ‘The fact that [these hackers] would be tracking and helping the Russian military kill Ukrainian army personnel in eastern Ukraine and also intervening in the U.S. election is quite chilling.
    And Donna Brazile, the interim chairman of the DNC who had been revealed by the leaked emails to have given CNN’s debate questions in advance to Hillary Clinton, and who then lied about it, highlighted the CrowdStrike report on Twitter, saying: ‘Cybersecurity firm finds a link between DNC hack and Ukrainian artillery’
    ested interest: Donna Brazile was revealed to be a cheat who handed CNN’s debate questions to Hillary Clinton and a liar who claimed falsely that the leaked emails had been altered. She promoted a Washington Post story based on the party-retracted CrowdStrike report
    But questions about the report quickly emerged. The Ukrainian military posted a public statement disputing the claim that it was the victim of hackers and denying that it had lost such a large number of howitzers.
    The International Institute for Strategic Studies – which CrowdStrike cited as the source of its claim that 80 percent of Ukraine’s howitzers had been taken out, told the VOA that this number was inaccurate. It said the actual percentage of howitzer losses was closer to 15 to 20 percent.
    It was soon discovered that CrowdStrike had not obtained this number from IISS directly, and instead relied on post published by a pro-Russian website called The Saker.
    The Saker article was written by Russian blogger who goes by the name ‘Colonel Cassad’ and calls himself the ‘bullhorn of totalitarian propaganda,’ according to Voice of America.
    Last month CrowdStrike quietly dropped the key claim of an 80 per cent loss, adding a short statement above the initial blogpost to say the report had been ‘amended’ and due to ‘an update’ from the IISS about the howitzer numbers.
    Putin forcefully denied claims that he meddled in US election”

    So AC, do you still believe absolutely the DNC story?
    Just Google any sentence in the above quote after copy and paste.

    • Gezza

       /  May 28, 2017

      Where’s the Dutch intelligence report about Giccifer 2 you found?

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  May 28, 2017

      This has nothing to do with what you were talking about. Where is the dutch report?
      The smoking gun on Guccifer 2 being EVGENIY MIKHAILOVICH BOGACHEV?

      And why put up paragraphs of copypasta without a link?

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  May 28, 2017

      Urgh, The Daily Mail.