The results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election are still the talk of the country. Your Facebook page and other social media pages are no doubt covered in Clinton and Trump news with people from both sides arguing over who should/would and did win the presidency, with or without the help of Russia and WikiLeaks.
It's seven months after the election and there are still people arguing about the validity of the 45th president's win and what they think really happened. With news of Russian interference and whispers of alleged collusion, it comes as little shock to learn that the NSA has reported that Russian military intelligence may have attempted to hack a U.S. voting software supplier.
Thus far into the investigation, it looks like Russian military intelligence was unable to hack the election software.
(Keep in mind however that Kremlin-sponsored hackers were able to successfully hack both the DNC and RNC in 2016.)
According to a Top-Secret NSA report published by The Intercept, just a couple of months before the November 8th election, Russian military intelligence attempted to deploy a spear-phishing campaign that targeted local government election organizations:
The NSA document share that the "Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors ... executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. ... The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to ... launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting local government organizations."
Russian president Vladimir Putin has consistently denied these allegations, despite U.S. intelligence finding ample evidence of Russian meddling.
In a recent interview Putin said that "hackers are free people, just like artists who wake up in the morning in a good mood and start painting. The hackers are the same. They would wake up, read about something going on in interstate relations and if they feel patriotic, they may try to contribute to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia."
While Putin has denied Russian interference, dropping lines like the one above demonstrates that he sees this long chess game; he's just waiting to make the next move.
Though Russia worked hard to meddle in the election, they didn't need to hack the election software; Donald Trump won the election without it. While he did not win the popular vote, Trump did win the electoral college and that makes him the president; them's the rules, as it were. So to clarify, this article is not about the validity of the Trump presidency, it is about cyber espionage and government hacks.
What can be gleaned from Russia's cyber hacking efforts is that political organizations need better cyber protection; again--the Kremlin targeted both the DNC and the RNC, it was just the DNC's secrets that were shared.
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