Sunday, March 11, 2018

McIntyre on Russia and Cyber-Hacking

Among Steve McIntyre's sometimes eccentric interests is the question of cyber-hacking. Who is most likely to have done it successfully? How much of it is there? How much of it is directed by, or has anything to do with, Putin or the Russian government? All of this is of some interest in itself, but it also comes up in connection with "Hillary, the DNC, Trump," and so on.

So now he's gone through the history of a banking Trojan gang that operated in Russia. Their arrest was announced at about the same time as DNC hacks, so of course the latter attracted much more Western media.

In 2015 and 2016, a computer security firm was investigating the "Angler exploit kit," which was using identity theft and "ransomware" to profit from the internet. Meanwhile, the Lurk trojan had been under investigation by the police in Russia, who also used a firm of experts, because of fraud that was being committed against Russian banks. The firm looking at Angler concluded that the same groups were involved in both cases: beginning in 2013, the Lurk gang had rented the Angler exploit kit to other criminal operations.

For now McIntyre's main conclusion is that these criminal operations were not directed by Putin--to a great extent they were directed against Putin. To say the least this supports the Trump observation that smart kids may be able to do about as much as some government officials, and the first-rate hacking in this world may be done by the private sector and/or criminals. Anyone who focusses on odds and ends in Hillary world as proof of Russia Russia Russia are probably naive about the internet. For example, banks have an interest in hiding how much money is stolen from them every day by moving a digit in digital form, or whatever.

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