US officially blames Russian government for election-related hacking

The US alleges that the Russian government compromised the emails of officials and institutions

U.S. officials are publicly blaming the Russian government for several high-profile hacks against political groups that they claim were meant to interfere with the upcoming election.

U.S. intelligence agencies are confident Russia was responsible, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement on Friday.

They allege that the Russian government compromised the emails of U.S. officials and institutions and then publicly leaked them online through sites such as WikiLeaks, DCLeaks, and the anonymous hacker Guccifer 2.0, who took credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee earlier this year.

"These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process," the statement said.

Although the agencies didn't provide specific evidence, they said the "methods and motivations" behind the hacks were consistent with Russian-directed efforts.

"Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there," the statement said.

The agencies also said that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these attacks.

The Russian Embassy didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. But the country's government has repeatedly denied any involvement with the hacks.

Perhaps the most serious of those breaches was at the Democratic National Committee. In June, it reported that suspected hackers had stolen sensitive files from the group, including opposition research on presidential candidate Donald Trump.

A hacker calling himself Guccifer 2.0, along with WikiLeaks, later posted those files online.

In another serious hack in September, stolen emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell were published online through a site called DCLeaks.

Security experts have suspected that the incidents may all be part of a Russian-sponsored campaign to shape media coverage of the U.S. election and damage Democrat Hillary Clinton's election chances for president.

U.S. intelligence officials privately believed that Russia was in some way involved, but officially nothing was said until Friday.

The intelligence agencies also said some U.S. states had recently experienced the "scanning and probing" of their election-related systems from servers operated by a Russian company.

"However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government," Friday's statement said.

DHS is urging state and local election officials to be vigilant and ask for cybersecurity assistance. Several states have already done so. But the agencies also said that hacking U.S. election systems would be difficult, given that they are distributed across 50 states and that protections are already in place.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmenthacking

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?