Let’s hope we are more prepared than the last time.
Courtesy of NYT:
The Russian military intelligence unit that attacked the Democratic National Committee four years ago is back with a series of new, more stealthy hacks aimed at campaign staff members, consultants and think tanks associated with both Democrats and Republicans.
That warning was issued on Thursday by the Microsoft Corporation, in an assessment that is far more detailed than any yet made public by American intelligence agencies.
The findings come one day after a government whistle-blower claimed that officials at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security suppressed intelligence concerning Russia’s continuing interference because it “made the president look bad,” and instructed government analysts to instead focus on interference by China and Iran.
Microsoft did find that Chinese and Iranian hackers have been active — but often not in the way President Trump and his aides have suggested.
Federal officials insisted that the Microsoft report was consistent with their own warnings, which named Russia, China and Iran as three nations seeking to gather information from the campaigns, and perhaps try to influence the outcome. But the most recent assessment by the director of national intelligence, last month, also said China preferred that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. win the 2020 election.
The Microsoft investigation also concluded that hackers related to Russia’s G.R.U., the military intelligence unit that oversaw the “hack and leak” efforts in 2016 that made emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign public, were going to new lengths to hide their tracks. They are routing some of the attacks through Tor, a service that conceals the attackers’ whereabouts and identity, which slowed the effort to identify the hackers.
So far, Microsoft officials said they found no evidence that hacking efforts this year were successful, but corporate officials noted that they had limited vision into Russia’s overall operations. They cannot say definitively that no materials were stolen, or what Russia’s motivations may be. That, they said, was the role of U.S. intelligence officials.
Microsoft’s findings come just two weeks after the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, declared that he would no longer let intelligence agencies give detailed, in-person briefings about election interference to Congress. He said the restrictions were because of leaks.
So the Russians are back to their old tricks and the Trump Administration is apparently helping to hide their efforts from Congress.
But hey, all of those accusations about Russian collusion were fake, right?