Russian Cyber Troops And US Presidential Election

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Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

The months after Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Donald Trump in the US presidential election have been dominated by stories concerning “Russian hackers.” If US media reports are to be believed, swarms of Fancy Bears and Cozy Bears have been roaming the Grizzly Steppe in order to throw the election to Donald Trump by…revealing the corruption within the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton camp. Naturally, these stories are the product of the last-ditch effort by the outgoing administration to trigger a new “cold war” with Russia and to shift attention away from Democrats’ failings. However, they have had the side effect of bringing attention to Russia’s cyber-war capabilities and the global cyber battlefield.

This is not the first time Russia’s cyber capabilities came into the spotlight. The concept of the “Russian hacker” entered Western consciousness during the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, and then resurfaced during the conflicts with Georgia and Ukraine, with a number of countries with Russophobic leadership, such as the Baltic States, routinely complaining of being a target of Russian cyber attacks.

Russia does in fact possess cyber war capabilities. The Information Operations Troops officially became operational in 2014 under the command of Deputy Defense Minister Pavel Popov, with several distinctive entities focusing on technology development, communications security, and recruitment of specialists versed in hacking methods and tactics. IO Troops are also receiving support from the Special Research Center of the MOD, research institutes such as the NII Kvant, and specially formed “scientific companies” of military draftees and contract soldiers already possessing applicable skills and talents recruited from Russia’s extensive hacker community who would help unravel and reverse-engineer Western malware being used against Russia.

National cyber-war capabilities are very difficult to assess because of the covert and non-kinetic aspect of their operations.  However, circumstantial evidence suggests Russian cyber-forces possess state-of-the-art capabilities that few, if any, other countries surpass. Obama’s and McCain dismissal of Russia as an inconsequential and backward country is ludicrous when one considers that it possesses the combination of capabilities required for waging cyber warfare effectively: mathematical and programming prowess. The skill of Soviet and Russian mathematicians is evident in the realms of nuclear and spaceflight technologies, where Russia has long been a world leader. Russia is also home to a sophisticated programming culture born out of sheer necessity. Once USSR began to fall behind the West in processor power, that lag forced its programmers to become efficient at writing code that could perform without overtaxing limited processing power. It is that skill that made Russian programmers so highly sought after USSR’s fall.

Russia’s cyber-war prowess is also testified to by the fact that there is not a single cyber operation that can be definitively ascribed to Russian state operators. In other words, if Russian cyber forces are in fact operating around the world, they are doing so in a way that defies detection or at least attribution. It is also evident that the US government has proven to be extremely wary of entering into a cyber-conflict with Russia. While the Obama Administration has laid out a number of alternatives to supposedly “punish” Russia for supposedly “hacking” the US elections, its officials and experts openly acknowledged they did not wish to risk a Russian cyber-retaliation against the sprawling US cyber-empire.

The cyber-battlefield thus became yet another area in which Russia successfully deterred US aggression thanks to its own capabilities. In the longer term, once the US intelligence community comes to terms with this fact, this clash may lead to international norms regulating and, in fact, prohibiting cyber warfare against sovereign states. Ironically, it is Russia that has been consistently proposing an international legal framework governing cyber operations, starting with the 2009 proposal for an international information security treaty and the 2011 “International Code of Conduct for Information Security” that was presented to the UN General Assembly. Predictably, both were rejected out of hand by the Obama Administration. However, the US unwillingness to entertain international agreements on cyber warfare was correctly interpreted–and later confirmed by Edward Snowden– as a sign of US desire to use offensive cyber-war capabilities in the future, possibly in support of “color revolutions”, that led to the 2014 establishment of IOT. If the relations between Russia and US do improve during the Trump Administration, addressing the problem of cyber-warfare will likely be part of that agenda.

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  • vladBEL

    US elites insanity is not surprising to anyone as it moral approach in achieving national goals. What really surprised me was Trump victory in such circumstances. Something mystical happened. If i did not believe in divine Providence, i would say elections went hacked.

    • PZIVJ1943

      Or Hilary lost the wrong states, and MSM was full of crap. They said Trump had no chance in hell, and wanted to be the king-maker. But the people decided!

    • trid2bnrml

      3 things.

      1) The media was lying to everyone about hillary being ahead and winning.

      2) Powerful people INSIDE her ranks was sickened by what she was doing, and turned her in to the right people. They also published the truth to the public.

      3) “The right people” caught the cheating, vote rigging and STOPPED MOST OF IT. Had they caught it all, hillary would’ve lost almost unanimously. The elites wasted their money trying to buy the election, even PAYING people to sit at her rallies and disrupt everything else.

      There was nothing mystical about it – we just caught the cheaters, and the sleeping giant rose up and bit her on the ass.

      • Bob

        The MSM treated electorate with total contempt – telling them they had to vote Clinton day in day out, calling Trump supporters racists and any other number of shaming gambits. The Huffington Post’s pro Clinton hubris was such they ran a headline article in weeks before election declaring their ‘polls’ put Clinton in landslide position of capturing 98% of electorate. Seriously, they ran that, when did a US election ever have a 98% victory margin? That is the kind of electoral result synonymous with Banana Republics and third world African dictatorships…
        The bitter unpalatable truth for Clinton is someone in Democrats leaked Podesta’s emails out of sheer disgust for their own side. They have been trying to deflect it into a Russian hacking story ever since, to diminish their own responsibility, and force the panicked Neo-Con’s Russophobia into the public consciousness before Trump arrives.

        • trid2bnrml

          Yep. It’s a tough and bitter pill for liberal democrats to swallow – but I love ramming it down their arrogant, cheating throats.

      • dutchnational

        Hillary won the popular vote by several million. So in that sense she was and remained ahead.

        I myself think all this posturing, getting “even” , is just plain wrong for the US.

        Trump is wrong in his behaviour. He is behaving like a loud mouthed a*s and simpleton. He is, or soon will be, the US president and should show some respect to his citizens, his bosses.
        Democrats should also behave with more respect. They lost the game and if they did not like the rules, they should not have participated.

        They, as the US, are supposed to lead the West and their attitudes give me cause for worry.

        • Bob

          Popular vote is irrelevant – is just a statistic. It is United States of America and thus the collective states choices determine outcome.

        • trid2bnrml

          IF we took out all of the dead voters, illegal/ineligible and fraudulent multiple votes, took out all of the fraudulent absentee ballots that were stuffed, SHE DID NOT EVEN WIN THE POPULAR VOTE! Take out THE FRAUD and hillary is less than nothing.

      • Joseph Scott

        That is true. She and the deep government establishment she represents have greatly vexed a lot of people in the military-security-intelligence establishment. But the Globalist elite often forget to pay attention to what their ‘technicians’ think. Basic class snobbery at work.

  • Nigel Maund

    Good video! Keep up the good work Russia as you’re our only hope. Fortunately, there is just enough intellect and natural suspicion left in many Americans and Europeans to realize the full and widepread scale of mainstream media lies and disinformation which during BREXIT and the US Elections becane so extreme that a complete and utter moron could see it. No the American administration is enmeshed in its massive web of convoluted lies and distortions and keeps doubling down on its lies by lying on top of lying until the entire situation reduces to an all out farce. The US Administration more closely resembles pre war Nazi Germany with every passing day. The UK is every bit as bad, especially the BBC.

  • Александар Јовановић

    Translated into Serbian / Преведено на српски:

    Руске информатичке снаге и амерички председнички избори – http://cirilizovano.blogspot.rs/2017/01/blog-post_12.html
    Поздрав :)