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'DNC Hacker' Unmasked: He Really Works for Russia, Researchers Say (thedailybeast.com) 704

The hacker who claimed to compromise the DNC swore he was Romanian, but new investigation shows he worked directly for Russia President Vladimir Putin's government in Moscow. The Daily Beast reports: The hacker who claims to have stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee and provided them to WikiLeaks is actually an agent of the Russian government and part of an orchestrated attempt to influence U.S. media coverage surrounding the presidential election, a security research group concluded on Tuesday. The researchers, at Arlington, Va.-based ThreatConnect, traced the self-described Romanian hacker Guccifer 2.0 back to an Internet server in Russia and to a digital address that has been linked in the past to Russian online scams. Far from being a single, sophisticated hacker, Guccifer 2.0 is more likely a collection of people from the propaganda arm of the Russian government meant to deflect attention away from Moscow as the force behind the DNC hacks and leaks of emails, the researchers found. ThreatConnect is the first known group of experts to link the self-proclaimed hacker to a Russian operation, amidst an ongoing FBI investigation and a presidential campaign rocked by the release of DNC emails that have embarrassed senior party leaders and inflamed intraparty tensions turning the Democratic National Convention. The emails revealed that party insiders plotted ways to undermine Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential bid. The researchers at the aforementioned security firm are basing their conclusion on three signals: the hacker used Russian computers to edit PDF files, he also used Russian VPN -- and other internet infrastructure from the country, and that he was unable to speak Romanian.
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'DNC Hacker' Unmasked: He Really Works for Russia, Researchers Say

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  • oh well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Torvac ( 691504 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:07PM (#52583397)
    lets blame russia
    • Re:oh well (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Torvac ( 691504 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:08PM (#52583407)
      totally not north korea this time
    • Re:oh well (Score:5, Funny)

      by jstroebe ( 921953 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:43PM (#52583767)
      Blame Canada they're not even a real country anyway.
      • by quax ( 19371 )

        We may have to build this wall to the South after all ...

        (Saying that as a Canadian resident).

    • Re:oh well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wyHunter ( 4241347 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @05:56PM (#52585565)
      Indeed. Nobody cares that they've subverted Democracy. But by golly how terrible those Russians caught them doing it!
  • by Script Cat ( 832717 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:07PM (#52583399)

    Nothing to see here. These crimes were exposed by someone we don't like so much. That makes it OK.

    • by jratcliffe ( 208809 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:09PM (#52583429)
      What crimes would those be? Seriously, I'm curious. What crimes have been revealed by the DNC emails that were released? Staffers at the DNC didn't much like a number of members of Sanders's staff. Some of them preferred Clinton. Good policy? Maybe, maybe not, but not a crime by any definition of the term.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Script Cat ( 832717 )

        Fraud.

      • by laie_techie ( 883464 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:14PM (#52583473)

        What crimes would those be? Seriously, I'm curious. What crimes have been revealed by the DNC emails that were released? Staffers at the DNC didn't much like a number of members of Sanders's staff. Some of them preferred Clinton. Good policy? Maybe, maybe not, but not a crime by any definition of the term.

        I haven't read the emails, but I don't believe they expose any crimes committed by the DNC; instead it shows that they did not want to play by their own rules when determining their candidate. It's dirty pool which may disenfranchise some Democrats.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Fraud. Money laundering. Racketeering. Violations of campaign finance laws.

      • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:20PM (#52583531)

        What crimes would those be? Seriously, I'm curious.

        Among other things, the emails show direct discussions surrounding the promising of high profile government positions to generous campaign supporters and contributors. A direct violation of 18 U.S.C./599. That's a crime.

      • by rwyoder ( 759998 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:35PM (#52583671)

        What crimes would those be? Seriously, I'm curious. What crimes have been revealed by the DNC emails that were released?

        Violations of campaign finance law: http://www.rollingstone.com/po... [rollingstone.com]

        • http://www.npr.org/2015/12/23/... [npr.org]

          All told, a single donor can give more than $700,000 for the election.
          That's serious money, according to campaign finance lawyer Brett Kappel.
          He said, "It also shows you where campaign finance law has gone. We're now back in the era of soft money."

          "Soft money" was the term for unregulated contributions to the party committees in the 1980s and '90s.
          The soft money system led to corruption cases in both major parties, and Congress barred party committees from raising it in 2002.

          But eight years later, the Supreme Court gave unregulated money a new path with Citizens United and other court decisions.
          In a 2014 ruling in the case McCutcheon v. FEC, the Supreme Court elevated the importance of joint fundraising committees between campaigns and parties, such as the Hillary Victory Fund.

          Campaign finance law had previously set an overarching limit on how much one person could give to federal candidates and the major parties â" combined â" in one election cycle.
          In McCutcheon, the Supreme Court said that limit was unconstitutional.
          As in other rulings, the court said removing the limit didn't raise questions of corruption.

          You don't like that? Well, you can hop on your time machine and go and shoot down people responsible - two Bushes and a Reagan.
          They appointed the guys who made it legal. Obama and Clinton appointed judges were against it.
          http://www.npr.org/sections/th... [npr.org]

          The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down an overall cap on the amount that large campaign donors can give to parties and candidates in a two-year election cycle.

          ...
          Chief Justice John Roberts led the opinion and was joined by justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito.
          A separate but concurring opinion was written by Justice Clarence Thomas.
          Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

      • by Notorious G ( 4223193 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:58PM (#52583921)

        What crimes would those be? Seriously, I'm curious. What crimes have been revealed by the DNC emails that were released? Staffers at the DNC didn't much like a number of members of Sanders's staff. Some of them preferred Clinton. Good policy? Maybe, maybe not, but not a crime by any definition of the term.

        The crime exposed by the DNC emails is money laundering. In those, they discuss how to move money from very wealthy donors making big deposits through a DNC fund for "down ticket" candidates (like state and local races). Huge donors with money, adhering to campaign finance laws, make deposits into the Clinton campaign (HFA). But they want more money to go to her so they direct the majority of it into something called the Hillary Victory Fund which is operated by the DNC. From there it's split again between state level party operations and the DNC, also to avoid limits. However, it's not at the state party accounts long, in fact, it's often there so briefly that the state level treasurers managing don't even have time to see it hit the account before it's gone and it's "donated" back to the DNC, essentially having been 'washed' through the sate accounts. The DNC then used the money to support the Clinton campaign.

        tl:dr - the DNC laundered money to circumvent campaign finance law and support Hillary.

        • tl:dr - the DNC laundered money to circumvent campaign finance law and support Hillary.

          "circumventing" isn't the same as "violating". Are you alleging that they violated the law?

      • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @03:09PM (#52584047)
        I rifled through the emails eagerly looking for stuff, but I was disappointed- I couldn't find anything except suspicious use of pronouns (we/us vs they/them). It was all fluffing up of bland talking points. These clowns couldn't rig an election if their life depended on it.

        And I also said that they shouldn't be claiming their emails are hacked by Russians, after all we've been hearing about hacked emails for the past year. They may be telling the truth, but making the argument at all is bad optics.

        But then I hear this from Trump yesterday, clarifying his previous statements on NATO, which makes the Russian involvement seem more suspicious:

        NATO. They ask me about NATO. Right? You saw that the other day, Meet the Press.

        "Well, I hear you want to give up NATO..." I don't want to give up NATO. I like... NATO's fine. But they gotta pay. They gotta pay.

        So we have all of these countries, and they're not paying. They're not paying. And we're protecting them.

        And the question is: "If such-and-such a country were attacked, are you willing to start World War 3?" Because that's essentially what's happening. They don't pay.

        They say, "Well, we have a treaty!" So they have these articles: "Donald Trump wants to give up NATO." No no no. I don't want to give up anything. I want them to pay.

        We're a country. It's not 40 years ago, 50 years ago. And now, most people in this audience don't even know, that we're protecting Japan, China, we're protecting Germany! Nothing but money.

        We're protecting Saudi Arabia. If we weren't around, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia wouldn't be around for two weeks. We protect Saudi Arabia. They don't pay us what that should be paying. We're losing everything. Folks, we lose on everything.

        We protect South Korea. We have 28,000 soldiers on the line, against the maniac on the right. We have 28,000 soldiers against North Korea, separated. Pretty dangerous stuff, considering he's got a million-person army. Pretty dangerous stuff.

        So we're doing all this, and yet they're paying us a fraction of what it is.

        I saw it with Japan. And by the way, I think it's fine- but they've got to pay us. We don't have the money. They gotta pay us. And they will pay us if the right person asks. If the right person asks. They will. They will.

        Do you have any idea the difference that makes for our country if we get countries to take care of us the way they should.

        We had a general recently, because we've been doing this, and he said, "Mr. Trump doesn't understand that Japan is paying almost 50 percent of the cost of what we do for them." And I said, why not 100 percent? Why? Tell me why. Tell me why.

        Folks, we're run by incompetent people and it's going to end. And it's going to end soon. Because people aren't taking it anymore.

        Now, when I talk about we're going to protect Japan, which is great, now, you always have to be prepared to walk. And I said, in one of the articles, they said, "Now what would happen if they didn't pay." I said, âoeWe have to walk."

        Hillary Clinton said, "He wants to walk from Japan!" Now, see, what she did, she makes it impossible to negotiate. She's not a negotiator. She's a fool. She's a fool. No, she's a fool.

        Because when you tell Japan- very smart people, great people, I have many friends there- but when you say you're not prepared to walk, you'll never walk? So she said, "How dare he say that! We will never walk!"

        Then they're never going to pay us. We may have to walk! Folks, we may have to walk.

        But- the same thing with Germany. We're spending a fortune in Germany. Same thing with Saudi Arabia. Let me tell you. Saudi Arabia? So we'll say this: "Folks, you gotta pay us. You gotta pay us. Sorry."

        They're gonna say no. Bye-bye! Within two days, they're calling back, "Get back over here, we'll pay you whatever the hell you want."

        OK? One hundred percent.

        But when we have a fool- when we have a fool- an absolute fool like Hillary Clinton, saying, "we will never abandon, we will never leave"- they're not going to pay. And we don't have the money to take care of every nation in the world.

        We don't have the money. And the same thing with the NATO nations, and they'll pay and they'll all pay probably- and if they don't pay, you walk! And that's OK, too. That's the way it works, folks. That's the way it works.

        WTF is going on here? Is this a prid quo pro?

        • I rifled through the emails eagerly looking for stuff, but I was disappointed-

          Colbert found the best one in a suggestion thread:

          "Eat my butt"

  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:08PM (#52583413)

    I'm not sure the press is smart enough to understand that use of a Russian VPN means they're working for the Russian government...but I'd expect /. editors to understand at least the basics of, you know, connectivity.

    • by mveloso ( 325617 )

      Reading shit headlines like that always brings home the fact that most reporters are almost completely ignorant about the subject matter at hand, and will generally spew whatever their "sources" tell them, even if the primary article says something completely different.

      • by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:29PM (#52583615) Homepage

        Reading shit headlines like that always brings home the fact that most reporters are almost completely ignorant about the subject matter at hand, and will generally spew whatever their "sources" tell them, even if the primary article says something completely different.

        Who did the hacking is irrelevant. It's just a distraction. Nobody (that we know of) made those DNC staffers and managers write what they wrote. The inner workings of both major US political parties as it relates to rewarding large donors, choosing party candidates, and dealing with "disruptive" candidates is very ugly. The emails show this. Looking out for the average person is clearly at the bottom of the list of their priorities. This could have easily happened to the RNC (if it hasn't already) and a similar pile of shit would likely be unearthed.

        This shouldn't be a partisan issue. Those who make it partisan are just sweeping "their side's" problems under the rug and allowing the problem to continue. The way we pick presidential candidates is really, really, bad. The primary system gives too much power to those with strong and vocal opinions. The disapproval ratings for the DNC and RNC candidates are at record high levels and speak for themselves. At this point, a random lottery would be better than the current system. We do this dance every 4 years and it isn't getting better. By November, people will have forgotten all about the primaries and nothing will change.

        • by kqs ( 1038910 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:59PM (#52583927)

          Who did the hacking is irrelevant. It's just a distraction.

          I only partly agree with this. If a foreign country is trying to affect our elections, that's something worth considering. Especially because if they'll do something minor like this they may do something major and less-easily-traced later.

          The inner workings of both major US political parties as it relates to rewarding large donors, choosing party candidates, and dealing with "disruptive" candidates is very ugly. This could have easily happened to the RNC (if it hasn't already) and a similar pile of shit would likely be unearthed.

          This is very true. The DNC was unhappy with Sanders, but never thought he had a chance of winning and didn't do much against him. Some talk, but no action.

          The RNC, OTOH, has been in an existential fight with Trump for the past year. They probably had a LOT more talk and probably more action. (Totally ineffective action, true, but action nonetheless.)

          I really don't know how primaries should work. As you say, primaries currently give too much power to those with strong and vocal opinions. Caucuses are even worse. Open primaries let people outside the party have a say, which may or may not be a good idea. The old method of "smoke filled backroom deals" doesn't seem an improvement.

          The disapproval ratings for the DNC and RNC candidates are at record high levels and speak for themselves

          That's a red herring. The DNC candidate has been under near-constant "investigations" (which have produced close to zero evidence or crimes) for more than two decades and has little charisma; that's gonna cause disapproval from those who like investigations but dislike evidence. The RNC candidates have insulted just about every cultural, ethnic, and gender-based group in the country. It's a perfect storm, but neither one seems tied to the parties.

          • I would counter that the DNC candidate has had investigation that have produced mountains of evidence, but despite this no charges have been brought to bring her to trial. Your "little charisma" could also be interpreted as an ego and nonchalant attitude about lying to the public. You can make any argument you want about whether or not Hillary is a criminal, but there is no way to argue she hasn't blatantly lied to the American public at every stage of every investigation and has the arrogance to ask invest

          • That's a red herring. The DNC candidate has been under near-constant "investigations" (which have produced close to zero evidence or crimes) for more than two decades and has little charisma; that's gonna cause disapproval from those who like investigations but dislike evidence. The RNC candidates have insulted just about every cultural, ethnic, and gender-based group in the country. It's a perfect storm, but neither one seems tied to the parties.

            Okay I have to burn mod points to disagree with this statement. The FBI director just said a few weeks ago that Hillary Clinton broke the law. Then, with his own mouth, added words that don't exist to the applicable Civil Code claiming that Hillary did not show intent. There was no intent required. She volunteered to be given trust, was briefed on that trust countless times (you're required to be briefed at least once a year by the FBI or DIA), and just said "I'm too important for these silly rules."

  • As if Hillary vs. Trump was not popcorny enough, we get a hacker from Russia trying to influence elections? Not even sure if this entire theory is believable but just sit back and watch!
  • Yea Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:12PM (#52583441)

    From the same people who said...
    "No classified email on my server"
    "No material on my email that was classified at the time"
    "No material marked classified on my server"
    "I handed over all work related emails"
    "The DNC did not collude to keep Sanders from winning"
    "The DNC doesn't work with news media to plant stories against Sanders"

    If they ever got caught telling the truth once, this might be believable. Who hacked the DNC server doesn't matter, what matters is how corrupt the DNC is from the content of the emails. They did their best to disenfranchise their base. Your vote doesn't mean anything to them, only their power and they are willing to lie, cheat and steal to keep that power and extend it over you.

    What a joke the DNC is. How long till Debbie Waserman Schultz gets another high paid job thanks to Clinton? Oops, already happened, so corrupt she had to be fired from the DNC but is still truthful enough to work for Clinton.

    • Re:Yea Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yunzil ( 181064 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:41PM (#52583741) Homepage

      So you're saying that somehow the DNC generated 3.7 million more votes for Clinton than Sanders?

      How, exactly?

      • Re:Yea Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

        by smugfunt ( 8972 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @03:12PM (#52584079)

        So you're saying that somehow the DNC generated 3.7 million more votes for Clinton than Sanders?

        We often discuss voting machines here. We don't like them.
        Smoking gun? [blackboxvoting.org]

      • So you're saying that somehow the DNC generated 3.7 million more votes for Clinton than Sanders?

        How, exactly?

        I have some distant cousins who are huge Sanders supporters, so I can comment on this. Basically the really hardcore supporters are claiming that votes for Sanders were either not counted at all or given to Clinton instead. Depends on who is telling this conspiracy theory which one they go with. And yes, they do truly believe that they had the votes to win every state (or almost every state) and the DNC was conspiring against them to steal the primary for Hillary. And this was all what they were saying

  • Jesus H. Christ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:13PM (#52583449)

    Is this some pathetic attempt at political spin or misdirection?

    1. "At this point, what difference does it make" who he was working for? Are the emails themselves not blatant enough for anyone?

    2. What kind of half-assed chicken-shit "Security researchers" draw a connection between Putin's government and a Russian based malware serving IP address? I won't for a second deny that Russia and Putin's goverenment work extensively in hacking the wold. But, there are literally thousands of malware servers in Russia that Putin's government knows nothing about.

  • by kwiecmmm ( 1527631 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:14PM (#52583475)

    The real issue is the fact that DNC tried to stop Bernie with a few underhanded tactics.

    The DNC is now trying to redirect the focus everyone to say the Russians did this rather than asking why Bernie didn't get a fair shot or why Hilary was basically given a free pass. I am more worried about why these emails were written in the first place and why the people at the DNC were stupid enough to think their email server couldn't be hacked.

    • by CaptainLard ( 1902452 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:34PM (#52583657)

      And the OTHER real issue is that we have as close to proof that makes no difference that Russia, a country who's leader is trying his best to restore the glory days of the cold war, is actively screwing with our general election.

      Sure the DNC should be impartial but to suggest we ignore Russia's attempt to influence our democratic process (however flawed it may be) is asinine, especially given they seem to have chosen a side. There two big problems here and both should be addressed!

    • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:56PM (#52583909) Journal
      Even Sanders realizes that the bias of DNC is not the reason he lost. If he thinks the election was stolen from him, he would not have endorsed HRC as strongly as he did. The email shows the normal palace intrigue, backstabbing and gossip. It is not even as embarrassing as the Sony leak. No ethnic jokes, no racist jokes being forwarded.

      If you put a secret microphone near the watercooler of any American company and release raw audio and transcript of all the talk, you would find lot more sleazy things than what you find in the DNC email dump.

  • Well not really, but would it surprise anyone at this point?

    Granted the mainstream media won't cover it of course...so it'll go largely unnoticed. Just like the title 'worked directly for russian president' ... 's government. Well all that says is he isn't an independent contractor...BFD. Tons of people (hackers included) work for the various first world governments.

    You could also say that the soldiers who "worked directly for Obama" ... 's government. Yawn.

  • directly for Russia President Vladimir Putin's government in Moscow.

    That's a convoluted way of saying "for Russia."

    Unless... plot twist! It was in Moscow, Iowa!

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:19PM (#52583517) Journal

    ....attack the messenger.

    Isn't that pretty much Lawyer Response 101?

    Dovetails nicely with the purported "vast Right Wing conspiracy", doesn't it?

    If a hacker reveals illegal conduct, is it "less illegal" if the hacker is Russian?
    I haven't noticed anyone asserting the emails are not genuine.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:40PM (#52583731) Homepage

    One party nominated a racist. The other party nominated a serial liar. And still, I bet the Libertarian and Green parties won't get 5% of the vote. I suspect that Hillary and Trump could beat American children in public while shouting "America sucks" and we still wouldn't get a third-party into office.

    My favorite is the guy attending the RNC, wearing the "STOP TRUMP" t-shirt, who said he would vote for Trump. **NUCLEAR FACEPALM**

    • "The other party nominated a serial liar."

      In an analysis of the top 20 national politicians, scores from nonpartisan PolitiFact indicate that Hillary Clinton is actual the most truthful candidate of all, excepting only Barack Obama. On the other hand, Donald Trump is the single-most lying candidate of the past year.

      http://www.mormonpress.com/lying_liars_who_lie_2016_edition [mormonpress.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @02:51PM (#52583869)

    To my knowledge, ThreatConnect was paid by the DNC to do this investigation, and the company that owns the news source used as a reference here (The Daily Beast is owned by IAC) has Chelsea Clinton on their board of directors.

    I would not draw any conclusions until this is independently confirmed.

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @03:07PM (#52584015)

    Do they blame all of their cyber-problems on " Those American Hackers " ?

    Or is it just this country where we blame whatever the problem of the week is on whatever country has a higher "Evil Quotient" at the time ?
    ( Usually Russia, China or Iran if you've noticed the trend )

  • by Maltheus ( 248271 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @03:16PM (#52584135)

    I don't remember this much controversy when the Russians were giving millions to the Clinton Foundation [nytimes.com] to award them with a giant uranium deal. Don't shoot the messenger on this one. She is what she is.

  • by DMJC ( 682799 ) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 @03:26PM (#52584257)
    The Democratic party has a huge problem. It's also a pretty simple problem: If the US equivalent of the Australian Electoral commission got caught picking a favourite between one of the two major parties there would be a royal commission and a complete overhaul of our political system. The Democratic Party in America should be showing the same level of impartiality between candidates as the Electoral Commission does. It hasn't, and now people are rightly pissed off. This issue isn't going to go away. They have a serious problem on their hands and I don't think that merely putting Sanders on the ballot to run against Hillary for the nomination is enough to fix it.
    • You're right in spirit, but missed some of the details. Which makes perfect sense if you aren't familiar with America's electoral system, because it can be a bit odd.

      Each party has a Primary election to select its Presidential candidate. Primaries aren't official elections, they're internal party elections, and each party has a State committee that runs the primary in that State - The Illinois State Democratic Committee runs the Democrat primary in Illinois, same for Texas and so forth. Internal party

Of course you can't flap your arms and fly to the moon. After a while you'd run out of air to push against.

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