Russian Hacking is Nothing New

By Dave Emanuel

“Stop the presses!!! The Russians hacked us.” Remember seeing that headline in 2015? Neither do I. That’s because Russian hacking is nothing new.

In spite of the fact that the FBI knew of attempts to hack the Democratic National Committee as early as September, 2015, neither the DNC nor the Obama administration responded.

Arrogant Obama – no increase in cyber-security

According to a New York Times article, “An F.B.I. agent initially tried in September 2015 to alert officials from the Democratic National Committee that it was the target of a cyberattack by a group of hackers with links to Russian intelligence. But the administration waited until October 2016, more than a year later and after months of damaging leaks, to confirm that intelligence agencies believed the hacks were the product of a Russian intelligence operation.

That begs the question, “Why didn’t the administration or the DNC take any action to block the hacking attempts?” Was it incompetence or arrogance? Or both?

As might be expected, The Times article, entitled, “Loath to Meddle in Election, Obama Delayed Blaming Russia for D.N.C. Hack” goes on to defend the lack of action by Obama, his administration and the DNC. However, the defense is for not laying blame; The Times did not defend Obama for failing to attempt to prevent future hacking. Apparently, such a failure is indefensible.

For a number of reasons, solid evidence of Russian hacking activities has not been publicly presented. Skeptics opine that evidence has not been presented because it doesn’t exist. Non-skeptics believe that presentation of evidence would further compromise the country’s cyber security.

Political ploy to bash Russia instead of respond properly

However, it’s a safe bet that Russia was involved. In September, 2015, published a white paper chronicling the activities of a Russian group labelled, “the Dukes.”

According to a posting on its website, “Today we release a new whitepaper on an APT group commonly referred to as “the Dukes”. We believe that the Dukes are a well-resourced, highly dedicated, and organized cyber-espionage group that has been working for the Russian government since at least 2008 to collect intelligence in support of foreign and security policy decision-making.”

Obviously, hacking attempts by Russians are nothing new, yet even when the FBI issued its 2015 warning about current activities, the administration’s primary concern was whether to issue a statement condemning Russia- not to bolster cyber-security.

Russian espionage activities have been going on for decades; the Obama administration had eight years to address cyber-espionage, yet failed to respond appropriately.

Again, quoting The Times, “An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.”

Even ‘hackers’ couldn’t find one shred of integrity in Dems

Had Hillary Clinton won the presidential election, Russian hacking would have been a non-issue. Democrats would most likely label any calls for an investigation as Republican sour grapes.

But Clinton lost, and irrespective of the hackers’ true identity, if the DNC had nothing to hide, hacking by Russia or any other group would not have exposed anything that might have influenced American voters.

Consequently, Russian hacking has highlighted two major problems; American cybersecurity is insufficient, and even the most intrusive hacking has been unable to uncover a shred of integrity within the DNC and its operatives.