US cyber officials devoted France heads up that Russia was hacking their systems and is collaborating with the UK and Germany to help shield upcoming elections
The US National Security Agency tip-off off French officials that Russia was hacking the countrys computer systems during the presidential campaign and is working with the UK and Germany to help shield their upcoming elections from Moscows interference.
The NSA director, Adm Mike Rogers, told a Senate committee on Tuesday that relevant agencies tipped off its French counterparts before the hack of Emmanuel Macrons campaign became public 36 hours before he won the second round of the presidential campaign.
We had become aware of Russian activity, Rogers, “whos also” head of US Cyber Command, told. We had talked to our French counterparts prior to the public announcements of the events that were publicly attributed this past weekend. We told, Look we are watching the Russians, weve seen them penetrate your infrastructure, heres what weve ensure, what can we do to try to assist?
Were doing similar things with our German and British equivalents, they have an upcoming election sequence, Rogers added. Were all trying to figure out how we can learn from each other.
He did not give details of what help the US is providing to the UK and Germany, who hold elections on June 8 and September 24 respectively, but US officials have previously said that they were seeking to share their experience of the 2016 presidential election where US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia hacked and leaked Democratic Party communications and disseminated fake news, with the aim of get Donald Trump election.
An estimated nine gigabytes of data was stolen from the Macron campaign and published online on Friday. Some of the material was authentic and some fake, apparently as a result of Macrons intentionally feeding hackers confected emails to blunt the effectiveness of the attack.
The Macron campaign has described the two attacks as massive and coordinated, but has not formally blamed Russia. The French cybersecurity bureau is still investigating the nature of the attack. The election commission said the leaked data apparently came from Macrons information systems and mail accounts from some of his campaign managers reminiscent of Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committeelast year.
Rogers remarks to the Senate armed service committee on Tuesday marked the first western official assessment that the Macron hack was sponsored by Moscow.
The Macron files published on Friday contained metadata in Cyrillic, implying they may have been edited on Russian software, and even included the name of a Russian intelligence contractor.
Cyber security experts said that did not represent conclusive proof that Russian intelligence was behind the hack.
If was to play devils proponent, if you are a sophisticated about cyber security, you know very well that you will leave metadata tracings and you also know that metadata is spoofable, told Aleksandr Yampolskiy, the co-founder of SecurityScorecard, a cyber security monitoring and rating agency. The whole description sounds a little too sloppy.
Dimitri Sirota, the CEO of BigID, a data protection consultancy, said the digital fingerprints left in the metadata could have been merely the result of sloppiness.
Or they could be leaving a mark, that creates deniability but also a pointer of what is behind it. It helps create a cloud, Sirota said.
He added that as such hacking becomes commonplace in elections, campaigns would started to adopt a standardised model of cyber security, using encryption, and deleting more data from their systems.
At the same time, customers are going to be more well informed fake news. Nobody likes their elections tampered with and no one wants to be manipulated, Sirota said. I think you are going to see the impact of these various kinds of assaults being attenuated as period goes by.
In his testimony on Tuesday, Rogers said the US is still working on a comprehensive cyber policy to counter what he called a brave new world in the cyber domain. He said the US is improving its ability to defend against cyber-attacks, but added: I would also tell myself, Rogers, you are not moving fast enough.
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