Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Russian military hackers tried to trick employees of VR Systems, a Florida-based e-voting vendor, into downloading computer-hijacking malware, according to a top-secret NSA report published by The Intercept last year. As recently as last month, the company denied any breach occurred. But, in fact, the hacking attempt worked, judging from an indictment of 12 Russian military officers prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and handed down by a grand jury today.
Like jeans and pickup trucks before, social media misinformation has become the latest and greatest American export. A new report by Privacy International says that Harris Media, a Texas-based political communications firm that helped boost the Trump campaign, Benghazi paranoia, and German far-right politicians, found its most recent client in Kenya, where an October presidential election flared into deadly violence.
A California-based security researcher says Republican-linked election databases were inadvertently exposed to the entire internet, sans password, potentially violating the privacy of almost every single registered voter in the United States.
Only a day after Twitter revealed that it had received a summons from the Department of Homeland Security demanding identifying information about an anonymous anti-Trump user account (and only hours after the government abandoned its attempt), Senator Ron Wyden is telling the agency it needs to explain itself.
It's impossible to present the evidence that Russia hacked the DNC without using words like "possibly," "appears," "connects," and "indicates." We should also bear in mind that private security firm CrowdStrike’s frequently cited findings of Russian responsibility were essentially paid for by the DNC, who contracted their services in June. It’s highly unusual for evidence of a crime to be assembled on the victim’s dime. If we’re going to blame the Russian government for disrupting our presidential election - easily construed as an act of war — we need to be damn sure of every single shred of evidence. Guesswork and assumption could be disastrous.