US: Russian officials authorized cyberattacks on political sites

US: Russian officials authorized cyberattacks on political sites

Fri Oct 7, 2016 9:13PM

The United States has formally accused Russian “senior-most officials” of authorizing cyberattacks on American political organizations in the run-up to the presidential election on November 8.

The accusations came in a joint statement by the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Director of National Intelligence on Friday.

“The US Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations,” read the statement.

“These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process,” it said, adding, “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

In response, Russia released a statement on the same day, rejecting all the accusations as “nonsense.”

“This is again some kind of nonsense. (Our) website experiences tens of thousands of attacks by hackers every day,” Interfax quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

This came after the hack of the Democratic National Committee in June and the subsequent release of 20,000 DNC emails by WikiLeaks in July.

The FBI listed eight separate IP addresses that were the sources of the two attacks, one in Arizona and the other in Illinois, and suggested that the attacks may have been linked, noting that one of the IP addresses was used twice.

The disclosures, which included a number of embarrassing internal emails, forced DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down.

The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton blamed Russia for the cyber intrusion and said it aimed to help her Republican rival Donald Trump win the election.

The Kremlin, however, rejected the hacking accusations, saying it would work with any US administration if they wanted to.

Hackers have also targeted the voter registration systems of more than 20 US states in recent months.

“Some states have also recently seen scanning and probing of their election-related systems, which in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company. However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government,” the US statement said.

Leave a Reply