FBI and Homeland Security released a lame report, befitting of a lame duck administration. The report discloses that–I hope you are sitting down–government agencies and employees are routinely subject to hacking attempts, most notably phishing attacks.
This is news? Um, no. FFS, who isn’t routinely subject to phishing? What is rather shocking is the administration’s going to Code Red on this, after its rather blasé response to far more serious hacks, notably the OPM disaster, and hacks of the White House and State Department and various defense contractors. Back then, they were all Alfred E. Neuman “what, me worry?” Suddenly it’s a grave threat, because there is a desperate need to explain away a stunning defeat of the candidate that Obama expected to protect his legacy, rather than dismantle it. Even if the allegations regarding Russian interference are correct, the damage is far less than these other cyberattacks, but the public response is inversely proportional to the harm inflicted.
Notably missing from the document is any specific mention of the DNC or Podesta emails, or of Wikileaks: it is a generic description of a virtually continuous stream of activity carried out by numerous state and non-state actors. Most bizarre, as for attributing the attacks to Russia, we are merely given this ipse dixit, with no supporting evidence: “However, public attribution of these activities to RIS [Russian Intelligence Services] is supported by technical indicators from the U.S. Intelligence Community, DHS, FBI, the private sector, and other entities.” Maybe they figure if they told us more, they’d have to kill us all. So they’re doing us a favor.
For those interested –
Joint DHS, ODNI, FBI Statement on Russian Malicious Cyber Activity, the link to the 13 page pdf document is inside.
Expelling Russian operatives and diplomatic personnel as a means of combatting cyber attacks? Stupid? I don’t know. The net result is that the Russians will expel 30 or so US intelligence and diplomatic personnel from Moscow, will close this or that American center, expropriate this or that US asset, or ban one or two McDonald’s restaurants. And the funny thing is that all this will not make it more difficult for Trump to mend fences with Moscow, even if such are Trump’s objectives. Nor will it make more difficult for the corrupt, weak, cornered rats in Kremlin to mend fences with the US, if such are the rats’ objectives.