U.S. indictments present technical proof for Russian hacking accusations

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. indictments towards a dozen Russian intelligence officers on Friday supplied detailed technical proof to again up allegations of Russian hacking and leaking of data to affect the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

A replica of the grand jury indictment towards 12 Russian intelligence officers is seen after the indictments had been filed in U.S. District Court by prosecutors working as a part of particular counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigationÊin Washington, U.S., July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

By tracing management of electronic mail and social media accounts and a instrument for distant web connections, the 29-page indictment doc for the primary time confirmed that the identical group of Russians leased servers, focused Democratic officers with phishing methods geared toward capturing their on-line credentials and communicated with Republicans and different distributors of hacked data.

A federal grand jury on Friday charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic pc networks in 2016 as a part of Moscow’s meddling within the presidential election to assist Republican Donald Trump.

Although a February indictment accused different Russians of spying and spreading propaganda on social media, it didn’t hyperlink these efforts with hacking, phishing makes an attempt or distribution of hacked data to Republican operatives, a Republican congressional candidate and web sites similar to DCLeaks, which printed the purloined materials.

“The last indictment of Russians involved the so-called troll factories and online bot farms that were causing issues on Twitter,” stated John Bambenek, vp at safety agency ThreatStop Inc.

“The interesting aspects of this indictment cover how connections were made between services due to reused email addresses, bitcoin wallets, and infrastructure. The Russians didn’t hide themselves that well.”

The conspirators used the identical bitcoin funds to purchase a digital public community account for communications and to lease a server in Malaysia that hosted DCLeaks.com. They used the Malaysian server to log into the Twitter account of the net hacker persona Guccifer 2.zero, and the identical server was used to register web sites used for hacking the Democratic committees, in line with the indictment.

One of the Russians probed election web sites in Iowa, Florida and Georgia, searching for vulnerabilities simply days earlier than the November election, the indictment charged.

Some researchers stated the indictment may need relied on U.S. indicators intelligence, the fruits of that are not often revealed, as a result of it quotes digital messages despatched to an unidentified group presumed to be London-based WikiLeaks.

Communications between Guccifer 2 and WikiLeaks additionally undercut the rivalry of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that he didn’t acquire Democratic Party emails he printed from Russia.

“The amount of intelligence gathering capability realized by this is astonishing,” stated researcher Nicholas Weaver of the International Computer Science Institute, affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley.

In specific, emails between Guccifer 2 and the group believed to be WikiLeaks “suggest that the NSA (U.S. National Security Agency) obtained access to either Guccifer 2’s email account, Wikileaks’ or both.”

The investigation additionally recovered particular web searches by the Russians and what they regarded for on hacked machines.

Revealing a lot “says just how serious this is, and how important it is to acknowledge that Russia hacked the U.S. to aid Trump and hurt Clinton,” Weaver stated.

Reporting by Joseph Menn; Editing by John Walcott and Cynthia Osterman

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