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[NBC News] U.S. Govt. Hackers Ready to Hit Back If Russia Tries to Disrupt Election

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Ottomaton, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    U.S. Govt. Hackers Ready to Hit Back If Russia Tries to Disrupt Election
    source

    U.S. military hackers have penetrated Russia's electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin's command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary, according to a senior intelligence official and top-secret documents reviewed by NBC News.

    American officials have long said publicly that Russia, China and other nations have probed and left hidden malware on parts of U.S critical infrastructure, "preparing the battlefield," in military parlance, for cyber attacks that could turn out the lights or turn off the internet across major cities.

    It's been widely assumed that the U.S. has done the same thing to its adversaries. The documents reviewed by NBC News — along with remarks by a senior U.S. intelligence official — confirm that, in the case of Russia.

    U.S. officials continue to express concern that Russia will use its cyber capabilities to try to disrupt next week's presidential election. U.S. intelligence officials do not expect Russia to attack critical infrastructure — which many believe would be an act of war — but they do anticipate so-called cyber mischief, including the possible release of fake documents and the proliferation of bogus social media accounts designed to spread misinformation.

    On Friday the hacker known as "Guccifer 2.0" — which U.S. officials say is a front for Russian intelligence — tweeted a threat to monitor the U.S. elections "from inside the system."

    As NBC News reported Thursday, the U.S. government is marshaling resources to combat the threat in a way that is without precedent for a presidential election.

    The cyber weapons would only be deployed in the unlikely event the U.S. was attacked in a significant way, officials say.

    U.S. military officials often say in general terms that the U.S. possesses the world's most advanced cyber capabilities, but they will not discuss details of highly classified cyber weapons.

    James Lewis, a cyber expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that U.S. hacks into the computer infrastructure of adversary nations such as China, Russia, Iran and North Korea — something he says he presumes has gone on for years — is akin to the kind of military scouting that is as old as human conflict.

    "This is just the cyber version of that," he said.

    In 2014, National Security Agency chief Adm. Mike Rogers told Congress that U.S. adversaries are performing electronic "reconnaissance" on a regular basis so that they can be in a position to disrupt the industrial control systems that run everything from chemical facilities to water treatment plants.

    "All of that leads me to believe it is only a matter of when, not if, we are going to see something dramatic," he said at the time.

    Rogers didn't discuss the U.S.'s own penetration of adversary networks. But the hacking undertaken by the NSA, which regularly penetrates foreign networks to gather intelligence, is very similar to the hacking needed to plant precursors for cyber weapons, said Gary Brown, a retired colonel and former legal adviser to U.S. Cyber Command, the military's digital war fighting arm.

    "You'd gain access to a network, you'd establish your presence on the network and then you're poised to do what you would like to do with the network," he told NBC News. "Most of the time you might use that to collect information, but that same access could be used for more aggressive activities too."

    Brown and others have noted that the Obama administration has been extremely reluctant to take action in cyberspace, even in the face of what it says is a series of Russian hacks and leaks designed to manipulate the U.S. presidential election.

    Administration officials did, however, deliver a back channel warning to Russian against any attempt to influence next week's vote, officials told NBC News.

    The senior U.S. intelligence official said that, if Russia initiated a significant cyber attack against critical infrastructure, the U.S. could take action to shut down some Russian systems — a sort of active defense.

    Retired Adm. James Stavridis, who served as NATO commander of Europe, told NBC News' Cynthia McFadden that the U.S. is well equipped to respond to any cyber attack.

    "I think there's three things we should do if we see a significant cyber-attack," he said. "The first obviously is defending against it. The second is reveal: We should be publicizing what has happened so that any of this kind of cyber trickery can be unmasked. And thirdly, we should respond. Our response should be proportional."

    The U.S. use of cyber attacks in the military context — or for covert action — is not without precedent.

    During the 2003 Iraq invasion, U.S spies penetrated Iraqi networks and sent tailored messages to Iraqi generals, urging them to surrender, and temporarily cut electronic power in Baghdad.

    In 2009 and 2010, the U.S., working with Israel, is believed to have helped deploy what became known as Stuxnet, a cyber weapon designed to destroy Iranian nuclear centrifuges.

    Today, U.S. Cyber Command is engaged in cyber operations against the Islamic State, including using social media to expose the location of militants and sending spoof orders to sow confusion, current and former officials tell NBC News.

    One problem, officials say, is that the doctrine around cyber conflict — what is espionage, what is theft, what is war — is not well developed.

    "Cyber war is undefined," Brown said. "There are norms of behavior that we try to encourage, but people violate those."
     
  2. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Interesting

    Rocket River
     
  3. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    Dangerous territory. They turn off a grid, we turn off a grid, and we're on the edge of war.
     
  4. Newlin

    Newlin Member

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    Wait! The U.S. Gov't has hackers? I thought hacking was bad. We are just like those dirty Russians? Maybe worse?
     
  5. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    Seems like only the US can openly discuss in presidential elections and widely-circulated news media which brown country it's going to bomb next or which country its going to catastrophically hack.
     
  6. Nook

    Nook Member

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    But but I keep hearing from Trump and his supporters that Russia isn't our enemy and they haven't been responsible for leaks.... so why would the government be preparing for Russian cyber attacks and election influencing??
     
  7. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    I didn't know Russia was a brown country. Cohete further descends into stupid.
     
  8. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    The hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me. At worst, Russia released a corrupt DNC emails. Now our current administration is threatening to cripple another country's infrastructure in fears their candidate may not win.

    Where is the liberal outrage?
     
  9. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    Nice post Comrade.
     
  10. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    Do I really have to explain the difference between a first strike attack and retaliating in self defense after someone else has attacked you first?

    If North Korea nukes us without provocation they are bad. If they nuke us first, we are perfectly justified in launching a proportional retaliatory strike in response. My 12 year old niece would have no problem understanding the difference. You really need it explained?
     
    #10 Ottomaton, Nov 5, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
  11. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    Let me get this straight. Liberals were mocking and laughing at Trump because he said 'nuclear weapons were not off the table' and feared he would nuke anyone and everyone who offends or embarrasses him.

    Now the current administration has ADMITTED to hacking Russia and is threatening to 'retaliate' or 'first strike' Russia (again, no proof Russia is behind this).

    If you would bother to read your article, it clearly states they do not believe Russia will use any attacks on our infrastructure. If they dont believe Russia is going to attack our infrastructure, then what is the point of this trash journalism? To tell us the sky is blue?

    You were suckered into a hysteria click-bait trash journalism and felt the need to repost it here.

    All this article stated was if Russia attacked us (and again, there is no real immediate concern), we would attack back. Well no ****!

    Trash journalism. Quit passing it on.
     
    wouldabeen23 likes this.
  12. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    Yeah, I've read the article about five times champ.

    Again, I need to explain the difference between Trump's unwillingness to rule out first strike nukes or escalation of conventional conflict into nuclear war, with the established doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction and proportional retaliatory strikes? It seems you still don't understand the difference.

    Sounds like someone's going to be repeating the 7th grade this year. :(
     
    FranchiseBlade likes this.
  13. txtony

    txtony Member

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    This isn't anything new. Staring in 2009 or so, the US have made it clear publicly what they were doing to the rest of the world, including their cyber capability and strength. They made it perfectly clear over the years that they will retaliate proportionally to cyber attacks.

    The article, if indeed was from sources in the Admin, is just publicly re-stating their standard stance but in a more direct and public way to remind people again, and to remind the Russian government.

    I think it's pretty clear that the Russia government want at to at least disrupt the election and weaken whoever is elected.

    If Trump is the target of attacks from foreign governments and the current administration is Republican, and this type of article was published, I wouldn't question the US stance on protecting it's election. I would be weary of escalating attacks, but I would agree the admin should defend and carry out what it stated for years - proportional retaliation. And an attack on our election should be taken extremely seriously. I believe only a blind partisan fool would think otherwise, and insert politic into a publicly stated stance of the US government.
     
    Ottomaton likes this.
  14. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    You seem far too logical to be discussing things like this here.
     
  15. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    The 1980's called: they want their foreign policy back.
     
  16. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    Goddammit I'd piss on a spark plug if I thought it'd do any good.
     

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