by Leesa K. Donner
The U.S. government's much-anticipated analysis of Russian-sponsored hacking operations provides almost none of the promised evidence linking them to breaches that the Obama administration claims were orchestrated in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
Well, well, well. It seems the U.S. Intelligence experts are on thin ice in accusing the Russians of hacking everybody and their brother. Don’t take my word for it. Look at what the experts have to say at ARS Technica -- an outfit that reports on computer hard and software. Started by Ken Fisher and Jon Stokes, it is now owned by Conde Nast Digital. And here’s what they had to say about the feds fingering the Russians as the source of the supposed “election” hacks:
Talk about disappointments. The U.S. government's much-anticipated analysis of Russian-sponsored hacking operations provides almost none of the promised evidence linking them to breaches that the Obama administration claims were orchestrated in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.Surely this is a big surprise to us all. ARS Technica went on to quote the founder of cyber situational awareness company Dragos, Robert M. Lee, who said the report was “very rushed” and organized by “teams working with different data set and motivations.” Lee offered the following professional opinion of the government report:
The 13-page report, which was jointly published Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, billed itself as an indictment of sorts that would finally lay out the intelligence community's case that Russian government operatives carried out hacks on the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Clinton Campaign Chief John Podesta and leaked much of the resulting material. While security companies in the private sector have said for months the hacking campaign was the work of people working for the Russian government, anonymous people tied to the leaks have claimed they are lone wolves. Many independent security experts said there was little way to know the true origins of the attacks.
Sadly, the JAR, as the Joint Analysis Report is called, does little to end the debate. Instead of providing smoking guns that the Russian government was behind specific hacks, it largely restates previous private-sector claims without providing any support for their validity. Even worse, it provides an effective bait and switch by promising newly declassified intelligence into Russian hackers' "tradecraft and techniques" and instead delivering generic methods carried out by just about all state-sponsored hacking groups.
It is my opinion and speculation that there were some really good government analysts and operators contributing to this data and then report reviews, leadership approval processes, and sanitation processes stripped out most of the value and left behind a very confusing report trying to cover too much while saying too little.In essence, these web security experts are saying the report is little more than thin evidentiary gruel and offers little in the way of convicting the Russians of the dastardly deed. But when did the left ever let facts get in their way?
Leesa K. Donner
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