Credibility Of Cyber Firm That Claimed Russia Hacked The DNC Comes Under Serious Question

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Before I get to the meat of this post, we need to revisit a little history. The cyber security firm hired to inspect the DNC hack and determine who was responsible is a firm called Crowdstrike. Its conclusion that Russia was responsible was released last year, but several people began to call its analysis into question upon further inspection.

Jeffrey Carr was one of the most prominent cynics, and as he noted in his December post, FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report: A Fatally Flawed Effort:

The FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report (JAR) “Grizzly Steppe” was released yesterday as part of the White House’s response to alleged Russian government interference in the 2016 election process. It adds nothing to the call for evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC, the DCCC, the email accounts of Democratic party officials, or for delivering the content of those hacks to Wikileaks.

 

It merely listed every threat group ever reported on by a commercial cybersecurity company that is suspected of being Russian-made and lumped them under the heading of Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) without providing any supporting evidence that such a connection exists.

 

Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words?—?malware deployed is malware enjoyed!

 

If ESET could do it, so can others. It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.

 

If the White House had unclassified evidence that tied officials in the Russian government to the DNC attack, they would have presented it by now. The fact that they didn’t means either that the evidence doesn’t exist or that it is classified.

 

If it’s classified, an independent commission should review it because this entire assignment of blame against the Russian government is looking more and more like a domestic political operation run by the White House that relied heavily on questionable intelligence generated by a for-profit cybersecurity firm with a vested interest in selling “attribution-as-a-service”.

 

Nevertheless, countless people, including the entirety of the corporate media, put total faith in the analysis of Crowdstrike despite the fact that the FBI was denied access to perform its own analysis. Which makes me wonder, did the U.S. government do any real analysis of its own on the DNC hack, or did it just copy/paste Crowdstrike?

As The Hill reported in January:

The FBI requested direct access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) hacked computer servers but was denied, Director James Comey told lawmakers on Tuesday.

 

The bureau made “multiple requests at different levels,” according to Comey, but ultimately struck an agreement with the DNC that a “highly respected private company” would get access and share what it found with investigators.

 

“We’d always prefer to have access hands-on ourselves if that’s possible,” Comey said, noting that he didn’t know why the DNC rebuffed the FBI’s request.

This is nuts. Are all U.S. government agencies simply listening to what Crowdstike said in coming to their “independent” conclusions that Russia hacked the DNC? If so, that’s a huge problem. Particularly considering what Voice of America published yesterday in a piece titled, Cyber Firm at Center of Russian Hacking Charges Misread Data:

An influential British think tank and Ukraine’s military are disputing a report that the U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has used to buttress its claims of Russian hacking in the presidential election.

 

The CrowdStrike report, released in December, asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s war with Russian-backed separatists.

 

But the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened.

 

The challenges to CrowdStrike’s credibility are significant because the firm was the first to link last year’s hacks of Democratic Party computers to Russian actors, and because CrowdStrike co-founder Dimiti Alperovitch has trumpeted its Ukraine report as more evidence of Russian election tampering.

How is this not the biggest story in America right now?

Yaroslav Sherstyuk, maker of the Ukrainian military app in question, called the company’s report “delusional” in a Facebook post. CrowdStrike never contacted him before or after its report was published, he told VOA.

 

VOA first contacted IISS in February to verify the alleged artillery losses. Officials there initially were unaware of the CrowdStrike assertions. After investigating, they determined that CrowdStrike misinterpreted their data and hadn’t reached out beforehand for comment or clarification.

 

In a statement to VOA, the institute flatly rejected the assertion of artillery combat losses.

 

“The CrowdStrike report uses our data, but the inferences and analysis drawn from that data belong solely to the report’s authors,” the IISS said. “The inference they make that reductions in Ukrainian D-30 artillery holdings between 2013 and 2016 were primarily the result of combat losses is not a conclusion that we have ever suggested ourselves, nor one we believe to be accurate.”

 

In early January, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense issued a statement saying artillery losses from the ongoing fighting with separatists are “several times smaller than the number reported by [CrowdStrike] and are not associated with the specified cause” of Russian hacking.

 

But Ukraine’s denial did not get the same attention as CrowdStrike’s report. Its release was widely covered by news media reports as further evidence of Russian hacking in the U.S. election.

 

In interviews, Alperovitch helped foster that impression by connecting the Ukraine and Democratic campaign hacks, which CrowdStrike said involved the same Russian-linked hacking group—Fancy Bear—and versions of X-Agent malware the group was known to use.

 

“The fact that they would be tracking and helping the Russian military kill Ukrainian army personnel in eastern Ukraine and also intervening in the U.S. election is quite chilling,” Alperovitch said in a December 22 story by The Washington Post.

 

The same day, Alperovitch told the PBS NewsHour: “And when you think about, well, who would be interested in targeting Ukraine artillerymen in eastern Ukraine? Who has interest in hacking the Democratic Party? [The] Russia government comes to mind, but specifically, [it’s the] Russian military that would have operational [control] over forces in the Ukraine and would target these artillerymen.”

 

Alperovitch, a Russian expatriate and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council policy research center in Washington, co-founded CrowdStrike in 2011. The firm has employed two former FBI heavyweights: Shawn Henry, who oversaw global cyber investigations at the agency, and Steven Chabinsky, who was the agency’s top cyber lawyer and served on a White House cybersecurity commission. Chabinsky left CrowdStrike last year.

 

CrowdStrike declined to answer VOA’s written questions about the Ukraine report, and Alperovitch canceled a March 15 interview on the topic. In a December statement to VOA’s Ukrainian Service, spokeswoman Ilina Dimitrova defended the company’s conclusions.

 

In its report last June attributing the Democratic hacks, CrowdStrike said it was long familiar with the methods used by Fancy Bear and another group with ties to Russian intelligence nicknamed Cozy Bear. Soon after, U.S. cybersecurity firms Fidelis and Mandiant endorsed CrowdStrike’s conclusions. The FBI and Homeland Security report reached the same conclusion about the two groups.

If the company’s analysis was “delusional” when it came to Ukraine, why should we have any confidence that its analysis on Russia and the DNC is more sound?

Answer: We shouldn’t.

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Belrev's picture

McCain gets a face lift and has some goods words for Trump. Just does not know where to begin ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsjqLaJNuBA

Audio Feeline's picture
Audio Feeline (not verified) Belrev Mar 23, 2017 11:41 AM

Lies have short legs. 

Now that their sand castle is ruined, they are afraid for their jobs ... ONE TWEET from TRUMP during elections and they are:

F

U

C

K

E

D

Latina Lover's picture

DNC was relying upon CNN, NBC, NYC etc fake news, CIA deep state operatives, the MIL lobbyists such as McCain, and endlessly repeating Hitler style Big lies to push their Russian Hacking BS. 

Unfortunately most americans no longer believe them so their fraud is imploding.

BennyBoy's picture

 

Crowdstike is a business and they got good free PR for essentially saying nothing.

Their website is insecure. But I bet these clowns think it is secure.

See their Alexa ranking rise and fall and rise with their PR news.

http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/crowdstrike.com

auricle's picture

Wait What? There are NGO's out there with political agendas? 

You knew it was all corruption when the IT guy responsile for deleting Hillary's emails pleads the 5th in front of congress, and the company behind it didn't go bankrupt instantly. Same thing in this case. A legitemate company with this kind of PR would be vaporized. Who else is this company doing business with? 

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ Latina,

Any more word on the Criminals at large Awan IT brothers? You know, the ones employed by the Criminal DNC at the time Debbie Wassermen.

SWRichmond's picture

You can bring a useful product to market and compete with others (hard, pay is OK), OR you can merely claim respectibility and credibility and accept huge payouts for furnishing information to wealthy clients which is what they want to hear (easy, pay is GREAT!).

So guess which?

City_Of_Champyinz's picture

Useless spam from a true douchebag extraordinaire.  Ban this fucking turd and his idiotic link spamming Tylers, come on for fucks sake.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Need enough people to report it to abuse@zerohedge.com -- I reported a spammer that was clogging up an article and the spam was removed.  This user only posts a single time per article so it's "not as bad" but I completely agree, would like to have these ads stop.  Send an email!

chunga's picture

I tried that again yesterday and that email address always bounces back to me as undeliverable. The freewheeling comments are/were great but the spam sucks. Tyler's advertisers will get his attention. Drudge linked to ZH last week, dead center, and Drudge changed the link to blooberg and kept the title probably because the ZH link was bombarded by habitual spammers.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Huh, weird.  Did I re-type it wrong from memory?  Checking the link on the right side -- you need to expand "Contact Information" -- it seems correct, and I never got a bounce from it: "Abuse/Complaints: abuse [ at ] zerohedge.com".

Just below that is "Advertise With Us", perhaps readers might have more of an impact going through that channel?  It's a link to http://orders.zerohedge.com/ -- but no I guess not, looks like that's only to spend money.

Oh well, I'm trying to have a positive impact, here.  Thanks for the feedback!

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

"Comey said, noting that he didn’t know why the DNC rebuffed the FBI’s request."

Says it all. 

After looking at this mess for long enough, it appears all this "Russians did it" line of reasoning is meant as a distraction.  Here's what I mean:  Prof James McCanney (physicist? from Cornell) has used 4 different and independent statistical methods to show the official vote tally was in November was completely false.  In other words, despite massive efforts at voter fraud in TX, Detroit/Wayne Co., California and elsewhere, HRC could not manage to give the same treatment to Trump that she did to Sanders. 

If any investigators of integrity looked into the vote tallies, the DNC would be in serious trouble as would the credibility of our entire (third world) voting system.  So they need to concoct a cover story, hence the Russians did it, and hence their unwillingness to let it go.  As long as there's a shred of believability, they've got something to hide behind. 

 

 

Pliskin's picture

SPAM, pushing his shitty website on every post, then logging in under one of his many accounts to upvote himself.

Please ignore, when he first came here I foolishly visited his website, it's full of adware, malware and trojans. Had to rebuild my P.C. to get rid of it all.

Just a warning to other REAL ZHers.

You've been warned!

shivura's picture

then stop using the internet dipshit...connectivity is inevitable, managing it is a task for real humans not whiny little bitches

IridiumRebel's picture

What the fuck does this even mean? Stay in your shitty third world village. You'll speak when spoken to.

shivura's picture

ha--who the fuck says that? it means globalism is impossible to stop as technology and connectivity will always accelerate...it pretty much means the world is fucked bc men are violent and it just takes 1 to kill thousands, but walls won't work either--our world will end up looking like minority report whether we like it or not--at least if you choose to live "in society"

ATM's picture

"Technology and connectivity will always accelerate"?

Have you not heard of the Dark Ages?

Technology and connectivity ebb and flow like anything else. Presuming that they ALWAYS flow in one direction is hubris.

gilhgvc's picture

so...society for you is hanging you ass over a river bank outside New Dehli to take a dump?

No Time for Fishing's picture

Globalism isn't about world wide communication it is about Centralized Command And Control for the WORLD! Not just control of international affairs but control of all governments and all people. Globalism and United States Sovereignty are not compatible and cannot coexist and any concept of States Rights is right out the window. 

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

And that's what so great about the Internet....it undermines our would-be controllers in dozens of different ways everyday.

shivura's picture

ok, but why are so many anti-globalists fond of dictators like Putin and wanna be ones like DJT?

i always found what McKenna said about being ruled by corporations and money enlightening---a lot safer than being ruled by dictators...all this rothschild, jew, circle jerking is just so people on this site can feel in the know, the most they want is for you to keep spending money/taking out loans--the real worry is a dictator in this country removing liberties...DJT is for states rights but wants to recriminalize marijuana?? WTF - that should be a huge flag to anyone who thinks he cares about states' rights when they clash with his

gilhgvc's picture

it's people like you who make me long for the old west days.......

shivura's picture

it's violent assholes like you and the guy in london that makes the world a terrible place to live in

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

 

ok, but why are so many anti-globalists fond of dictators like Putin

Sluggish delirium of the average paid grantees State Department.

illuminatus's picture

The sad thing is, things could get even more fucked up than they already are.

Dr. Engali's picture

The conclusion that they were supposed to come to was already decided long before they were supposed to do any inspection.

orangegeek's picture

Dems invent the lies.  Fake news pump the lies.  Sheeple drink the kool-aid.

 

Been going on for decades.

 

Repulicans need a trophy - a trophy being a Dem that goes to jail for this.

illuminatus's picture

Left/right??

Have you ever heard of ' divide and conquer'?

viahj's picture

divide and conquer is employed by the globalists at the top to the mindless minions in the streets however, there are mutlitudes of willing actors on both sides of the 'debate' and there are armies of foot soldiers marching through the landscape (politcal and physical) so you can't dismiss the true civil war that is being waged.  in fact it is a globalist war both around the globe and within most western governments.  you will not reunite these political factions to join forces to go after the gloabalists, they are the globalists.

illuminatus's picture

You are probably right, but it doesnt hurt to point out what's going on now and then.

shovelhead's picture

Newsflash:

The ones helping the globalists ARE the globalists whether they know it or not.

Why would you want to join with collaborators? You don't try to teach them, you hang them.

nancysjet's picture

Someone should tell the lib,prog,dems they lost.

without the media they will dry up and blow away, they lost the election ,house and senate, they have no power Americans should be told they are not the majority or wield any power without the msm.

Cursive's picture

Crowdstrike?  Everyone is a political operative now.  Believe no one.  The state is too big and, as such, should not only NOT be protected, it should be attacked/dismantled anyway.  Death to tyrants!

Cursive's picture

Crowdstrike?  Everyone is a political operative now.  Believe no one.  The state is too big and, as such, should not only NOT be protected, it should be attacked/dismantled anyway.  Death to tyrants!

DuneCreature's picture

Where did this story go? ........ Down the rabbit hole? ..... Or up James 'Slippery Jim' Comey's ass?

http://yournewswire.com/nypd-hillary-clinton-child-sex-scandal/

Jeff, Jeff, are you in there? ...... What are you and Slippery doing with the NYPD case? ........ Don't tell me the NYC cops couldn't build a proper case with all that evidence and blew it. ....... Jeff? ...... Mr. Sessions! Mr. Sessions HELLOOOOOoo! .. Anyone home?

It appears as if no one is home at DoJ.

Live Hard, Something Tells Me They All Went To A Pizza Party Somewhere Way Across Town, Die Free

~ Dc v5.0

yttirum's picture

Lee Stratham from Breitbart tried to get this out. He is now out of a job.

shovelhead's picture

Well that puts him one up on Breitbart.

Cursive's picture

My wife insists on watching the local news every night.  Last night, there were several national news stories about the Trumpcare bill and every congressman I saw sounded like an effiminate weirdo.  My wife agreed.  I think all of DC and the state capitols are full of deviants.  Seriously, what regular person would want to be a part of this circus?

gilhgvc's picture

BRAVO 1,000,000 up votes...I have been screaming this same thing since it was outed

Osmium's picture

 

The FBI requested direct access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) hacked computer servers but was denied, Director James Comey told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Well, if Comey said that, It's more than likely a lie.  That fkr is not capable of telling the truth.

deoxy's picture

Must have a lot of clout to say no to the FBI.

NobodyNowhere's picture

What is the one thing we all go "yikes' at the sight of, yet we all carry it?

TwelveOhOne's picture

Blood?  Guts?  Not sure where you're going but I'm here to learn, I brought my pencil.