daily dot: “They are some of the best in the world,” [Chris] Finan, now the CEO of the security firm Manifold Technology, says. “We’re not talking North Korea or even China, who are really sloppy. The Russians are really good at covering their tracks.” by Patrick Howell O'Neill
'“To definitively attribute the breach at the DNC to a Russian actor is next to impossible,” Leo Taddeo, former special agent in charge of the FBI's NY cybercrime division and now the chief security officer of Cryptzone, explains. “Unless we have a window into their side, we’ll probably never definitively attribute this to Russia.”
'After NATO conducted a naval exercise from Finnish territory for the first time ever earlier this year, hackers knocked the Finnish Ministry of Defense’s website offline. Germany accused Russia of a cyberattack against a steel mill that caused “massive” damage. The steel mill attack stands as only the second known incident in which hackers have caused physical damage. The first is Stuxnet, the American–Israeli cyberattack against Iranian nuclear facilities in 2007 and 2008. The French television network TV5 Monde was knocked off the air for 18 hours in April 2015. The website was replaced by jihadist propaganda, but French authorities insisted Russian state-sponsored hackers were behind the attack. More to the point, they accused a group called Fancy Bear that American security experts believe is behind this year’s hack of the Democratic National Committee. When a Dutch commission concluded a Russian weapon destroyed a Malaysian airliner over war-torn Ukraine, Russian hackers targeted the investigation from start to finish. In late 2015, Ukraine itself was the target of hackers who took control of a western Ukrainian power grid that knocked out power substations and launched a blackout for 230,000 Ukrainians.
'Russian actions on the internet extend beyond traditional hacking. [American political scientist P.W.] Singer points to the country’s dynamic troll factory system that influences social media; the international propaganda system, centered around Russia Today, aimed at influencing news; efforts to influence European politics and Brexit; and an information war focused on the U.S. election that fuels extremist support of Donald Trump. “They literally invented [information warfare],” Singer says of the Russians. “They also have set up a wide apparatus to support it, some 75 different organizations, ranging from university programs to military units, studying the issue and operationalizing. Finally, the willingness to look at democracy as merely something to be manipulated gives a wider scope of activity they can do.”'