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.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags governmenthacking

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?