The United States (US) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issued a joint statement on Friday, October 7, 2016,
publicly stating for the first time that the US Intelligence
Community is "confident" that the "Russian
Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US
persons and institutions, including from US political
DNC Attack Background
Last April, after the DNC discovered malware on its computer
systems, it hired third party cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike to
investigate the breach. After completing its investigation,
CrowdStrike issued a report in June 2016 linking the attacks to two
groups associated with Russia:
"Cozy Bear," a group suspected of previously
attacking networks at the White House, State Department and Joint
Chiefs of Staff; and
"Fancy Bear," a group suspected to have targeted
public and private entities for decades.
CrowdStrike linked the attacks of Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear to
Russia because their programming code sometimes matched the code
used in earlier hacks by Russia, and their behavior matched that of
Russia's in its historic efforts to increase Russian sphere of
influence in Eastern Europe. Thousands of stolen e-mails from
the DNC were subsequently published on a source called DC Leaks,
which ThreatConnect, a separate cybersecurity firm, has linked to
A day after the report, someone calling themselves Guccifer 2.0
claimed responsibility for the hack in a blog post.
Joint Statement Blames Russia For DNC Hack
In Friday's joint statement, the DHS and ODNI stated for
the first time that the "recent disclosures of alleged hacked
e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guiccer
2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations
of Russia-directed efforts." The agencies found that the
"thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US
election process[,]" which is activity that is not "new
to Moscow – the Russians have used similar tactics and
techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence
public opinion there." Based on the "scope and
sensitivity" of such efforts, the agencies concluded that only
"Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized
No Conclusion On Voting Machine Hacks
The joint statement stopped short of attributing
the recent state election data system breaches to Russia.
These breaches, which have seen at least Illinois and Arizona
experience scanning and probing of their election systems, have
been tied back to servers operated by a Russian company. The
FBI is currently investigating this claim, but the DHS and ODNI
said the US Intelligence Community is not "now in a position
to attribute this activity to the Russian Government."
The joint statement came on the same day
as a ceasefire in Syria fell apart and the US accused Russia of war
crimes in Aleppo. A copy of the joint report can be found here.
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