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It's the summer of 2014. A hacker from the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has penetrated the computer network of a university building next to the Red Square in Moscow, oblivious to the implications. One year later, from the AIVD headquarters in Zoetermeer, he and his colleagues witness Russian hackers launching an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States. The AIVD hackers had not infiltrated just any building; they were in the computer network of the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. And unbeknownst to the Russians, they could see everything.
That's how the AIVD becomes witness to the Russian hackers harassing and penetrating the leaders of the Democratic Party, transferring thousands of emails and documents. It won't be the last time they alert their American counterparts. And yet, it will be months before the United States realize what this warning means: that with these hacks the Russians have interfered with the American elections. And the AIVD hackers have seen it happening before their very eyes.
The Dutch access provides crucial evidence of the Russian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party, according to six American and Dutch sources who are familiar with the material, but wish to remain anonymous. It's also grounds for the FBI to start an investigation into the influence of the Russian interference on the election race between the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidate Donald Trump.
The Cozy Bear hackers are in a space in a university building near the Red Square. The group's composition varies, usually about ten people are active. The entrance is in a curved hallway. A security camera records who enters and who exits the room. The AIVD hackers manage to gain access to that camera. Not only can the intelligence service now see what the Russians are doing, they can also see who's doing it. Pictures are taken of every visitor. In Zoetermeer, these pictures are analyzed and compared to known Russian spies. Again, they've acquired information that will later prove to be vital.
The information shared by The Netherlands about the hacks at the DNC ended up on the desk of Robert Mueller, the Special Prosecutor leading the FBI investigation into possible Russian interference in the American elections. As early as December, the New York Times reported that information from, among others, Australia, the United Kingdom and The Netherlands had propelled the FBI investigation.
Last Sunday on Dutch television programme College Tour, Rob Bertholee, head of AIVD, said that he had no doubt that the Kremlin was directly responsible for the Russian cyber campaign against U.S. government agencies. Bertholee as well as Pieter Bindt, who was heading MIVD at the time, personally discussed the DNC matter with James Clapper, at the time overall head of the US intelligence services, and Michael Rogers, who is soon to retire as the head of the NSA.
So, what specifically was "hacked?" Like, for example, there are other experts that say it's unlikely the DNC leaks were hack-related. Moreover, if it's just them messing with democrats, without proof it affected the election, then what are the implications beyond relatively normative intelligence operations and 'interference' such as we do (and a lot more) in other countries? For example, when we are helping stage coups in other countries, who are we to be crying about Russian intelligence trying to hack our databases? We should guard against it yes. But this pearl clutching sounds like partisan hackery or hypocrisy regarding US foreign policy.
originally posted by: theantediluvian
A report in the Dutch press and picked up last week by US media claims that not only did the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD provide information about the DNC hack, they were looking over the shoulders of Cozy Bear — literally — as it was happening.
At the same time, part of the Russian hysteria are a series of accusations beyond the proof, such as Trump collusion with them. Those are serious accusations, and so far I haven't seen the evidence for that aspect.
originally posted by: JoshuaCox
a reply to: theantediluvian
But but. I thought this was all a vast illuminati conspiracy to make the gop look bad?!?!
Do the democrats own all the worlds intelligence agencies too!!!
Damn you obama!!!
originally posted by: SocratesJohnson
Sooooo, if i am reading this correctly
Russian hacks = bad
Dutch hacks = good
So, what specifically was "hacked?" Like, for example, there are other experts that say it's unlikely the DNC leaks were hack-related.
1. We have absolutely no idea between what computers this hypothetical transfer occurred.
2. It's just as likely that the hypothetical transfer occurred between two boxes at the DCCC... prior to exfiltration.
3. It's also equally likely that the hypothetical transfer occurred between computers at Hacker HQ.
4. It's also possible that transfer were between servers in datacenters somewhere which is the point I was trying to make when I asked if the DNC (now I know DCCC) servers were on site at the offices or not. I regularly get transfer rates in the neighborhood of 20MB/s between VPSes at different ISPs, thousands of miles away. I'll be happy to screen shot it if you're skeptical. We already know that in the case of the DNC hack, that they were using US VPSes, purchased with BTC, for their C2 servers.
The claim that this analysis "proves" an inside source falls completely flat on its face on the above alone without even getting into the hazy methodology of estimating transfer speeds from gap times.
If the hypothesized transfer rate cannot exclude the aforementioned transfer scenarios — which are entirely consistent with a hack — what is the "whole point" again?
Moreover, if it's just them messing with democrats, without proof it affected the election, then what are the implications beyond relatively normative intelligence operations and 'interference' such as we do (and a lot more) in other countries?