By James Azar
Remember those allegations that the Russian hacked into the US elections? How it transformed into one giant conspiracy theory, with global leaders from either side laughing patronizingly in a deep and hollow fashion at the possibility of it all?
Well, turns out that this conspiracy could have more to it than meets the touch screen.
This week the US Department of Justice reportedly gathered enough evidence to charge at least six Russian government officials with hacking the elections. Earlier this year the US government had concluded that Russia was behind the hack, and now they have finally found enough evidence to put some ink to their claim.
The hack itself:
It’s confirmed that the Russian hackers, backed by the Russian government, have hacked into the DNC (Democratic National Committee) computer system and stolen thousands of DNC emails. This included personal and sensitive information from Hillary Clintons' campaign manager John Podesta.
Putin and the Russian government have denied all allegations and will not be taking responsibility for anything, which is in no way shocking to anyone. This is standard protocol and befitting of any government on the defensive.
I suppose that we don’t really know what effect the hack had on the overall results of the election. Besides, will the accused Russian government officials ever have to face justice? Most likely not, as Russia doesn’t have an extradition agreement with the US. Unless the people accused, step onto US soil, they won’t be able to be brought in under any circumstances. The chance of that happening appears pretty low right now.
The Bigger Picture:
The bigger question is whether this is a start of a new Cold Cyber War, or if it's already started and we missed it. This is the latest in many incidents of cyber-attacks by Russian government-backed hacking groups.
Let's not wait for the Government to act on the Cyber-crime, it appears that some of the big boys are taking it into their own hands. Earlier this year Microsoft took down the famous Russian hacking group called Fancy Bear (also known as APT28, Sofacy, Sednit, and Pawn Storm).
Microsoft had actually sued Fancy Bear in a federal court outside of Washington DC because the group creates fake Microsoft products used to send off cyber-attacks (like a creepy Christmas gift).
Microsoft, unable to bring them to the courtroom (obviously) but through the lawsuit, were able to highjack the group’s servers, analyze their traffic and warn new victims of their upcoming attacks.
Brilliant move Microsoft!
Not all hackers are immune to court proceedings. In an incredible story this week we learned that the cybersecurity company FireEye was able to catch a hacker that perpetrated a breach of their system back in July. The hacker targeted one employee claiming that he had access to the entire server and database of the company.
Government-backed hacker groups leave a huge trail behind them, for the very reason that they are tied to a huge bureaucracy. Although more obvious, they are in fact, far more dangerous than the economic opportunists, as they create havoc with our civil rights to vote in a free election.
This, in my opinion, goes a step further than putting your hand in our pockets, something we can complain about our Government for.
Stay tuned for more 'Cold Cyber War' news.