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CFR experts investigate the impact of information and communication technologies on security, privacy, and international affairs.

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Showing posts for "Espionage"

Hacking Charges Against Russian FSB Officers: A Quick Reaction

by Adam Segal
A poster of suspected Russian hacker is seen before FBI National Security Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California joint news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2017. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters).

This post was co-written with Alex Grigsby, assistant director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy program.

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Wikileaks and the CIA: What’s in Vault7?

by Adam Segal
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) logo. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters).

On Tuesday, Wikileaks released a huge cache of documents it said were descriptions of CIA cyber tools used to break into smartphones, computers and internet-connected TVs. Wikileaks says the documents came from an inside source–speculation is it is either a CIA operator or contractor–and claimed the release was meant to spur a debate over “whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers” and “the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.” In any case, it is damaging to the CIA and another in a growing list of embarrassing instances of the U.S. intelligence agencies losing control of their digital weapons (see, for example, Edward Snowden; Shadow Brokers; Harold Thomas Martin III).

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Democracy and Digital Technology After the 2016 Election

by David Fidler
CFR Cyber Net Politics U.S. President-elect Donald Trump greets supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 9, 2016. (Mike Segar/Reuters).

Efforts to understand the causes and consequences of Donald J. Trump’s victory are underway, and this election illuminates features about the relationship between democratic politics and digital technologies that require attention. In this campaign, the template of digital progressive politics pioneered by the 2008 and 2012 campaigns of Barack Obama failed Hillary Clinton. In its place, Trump produced a digital populism that repudiated the Obama template. The 2016 campaign also revealed problems with cybersecurity that undermine notions the United States made progress in this domestic and foreign policy realm over the past eight years.

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After Attributing a Cyberattack to Russia, the Most Likely Response Is Non Cyber

by Adam Segal
CFR Cyber Net Politics Russia Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) chairs a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia on September 21, 2016. (Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin via Reuters).

Almost four months after the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike claimed that two Russian hacker groups were behind the theft of data from computers at the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations, the U.S. government has publicly attributed the attacks to Russia. In a joint statement from the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community declared that it was “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” Read more »

The U.S.-China Cyber Espionage Deal One Year Later

by Adam Segal
CFR Cyber Net Politics Adam Segal U.S. President Barack Obama (L) speaks as Chinese President Xi Jinping looks on during a welcoming ceremony for the Chinese leader at the White House for an official State Visit in Washington September 25, 2015. (Gary Cameron/Reuters).

A year ago, presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping stood next to each other and declared that neither the U.S. nor Chinese governments “will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information for commercial advantage.” Despite a great deal of warranted skepticism about the agreement initially, much of the heat surrounding cybersecurity in the bilateral relationship has dissipated. It is Russia, and the alleged hacks of the Democratic National Committee and World Anti Doping Agency, that now dominates the headlines and drives much of U.S. cybersecurity policy discussion.

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Lessons From the Cold War to Combat Modern Russian Disinformation Campaigns

by Guest Blogger
CFR Cyber Net Politics Active Measures Lubyanka Square (Dzerzhinsky Square in 1926 through 1990), home of the former KGB in 1991. (Vladimir Fedorenko/RIA Novosti Archive)

Editor’s Note: The blog post Lessons from the Cold War to Combat Modern Russia Disinformation Campaigns by Robert Caruso has been taken down. Since publication, information has come to light that has put the author’s credentials in question.

Congress Needs to Warn Russia on Election Interference

by Robert Knake
Cyber CFR Elections Net Politics A voter casts her ballot in the U.S. midterm elections in Ferguson, Missouri November 4, 2014. (Whitney Curtis/Reuters).

Responding to reports that Russian hackers stole voter lists in Arizona and Illinois, federal officials are scrambling to help states protect voting systems from cyberattacks in the next sixty days. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has warned election officials in all fifty states that voting systems could be compromised and offered federal support. Private cybersecurity firms have offered assistance on a pro bono basis as have a large number of white hat hackers.

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Is Hacking Hillary Clinton Russian Payback for the “Freedom to Connect”?

by David Fidler
CFR Cyber Net Politics Russia DNC Hack A protester in Moscow in 2011. (Sime Simon).

Allegations the Russian government hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and the Hillary Clinton campaign have generated intense attention, especially concerning the implications of possible Russian efforts to use the fruits of cyber espionage to influence the U.S. election. Although Russia rejects the allegations, these hacks might constitute payback for Clinton and Democrats, who championed direct U.S. cyber support for opponents of authoritarian regimes during the Obama administration. China and Russia have long complained the United States manipulates cyberspace to interfere in their domestic political affairs, and, under this perspective, airing the DNC’s digital dirty laundry through Wikileaks courtesy of Russian intelligence perhaps means turnabout is fair play.

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