The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby Belligerent Savant » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:33 pm

.

https://medium.com/homefront-rising/dum ... fa522ff44f

Excerpt:



“If I give you a malware binary to reverse engineer, what do you see?” This is the question that had been posited by Michael Tanji, the retired cyber intelligence analyst. “Exactly what the author wants you to see.”

I want you to see words in a language that would throw suspicion on someone else.

An article published in ArsTechnica highlighted the work of an independent security researcher, Adam Carter, who had uncovered evidence that some of the documents released by Guccifer 2.0 in his initial document dump had been manipulated in a manner which introduced Russian words, in the Cyrillic alphabet, into the metadata of the documents, including a reference to “Felix Edmundovich,” the first name and patronymic of the founder of the Soviet security service, Felix Dzerzhinsky. The combination of the Cyrillic alphabet and the reference to a Russian spymaster seems ideal if one is trying to attribute its existence to the Russian intelligence services.

I want you to see that my code was compiled in a particular foreign language (even though I only read and/or write in a totally different language).


FireEye, a well-known cyber security company, has written a report on APT-28 (another name for Fancy Bear), highlights a number of Russian language indicators, including the consistent use of Russian language in malware code over the course of six years.


I want you to see certain comments or coding styles that are the same or similar to someone else’s (because I reuse other people’s code.)


Fidelis Security, another well-known cyber security company, was provided samples of the Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear malware for “independent analysis.” According to Fidelis, these samples matched the description provided by CrowdStrike and “contained complex coding structures and utilized obfuscation techniques that we have seen advanced adversaries utilize in other investigations we have conducted,” Michael Buratowski, the senior vice president of security consulting services at Fidelis, noted. The malware was “at times identical to” malware that other cyber security vendors, such as Palo Alto Networks, have attributed to Fancy Bear. Many of these similarities have been previously identified by other cyber security vendors and made public as far back as 2013.

I want you to see data about compilation date/time, PDB file path, etc., which could lead you to draw erroneous conclusions have no bearing on malware behavior or capability.

FireEye, in its report on APT-28 (i.e., Fancy Bear), also notes that the compile times associated with the malware align with the work hours and holiday schedules of someone residing in the same time zone as Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The fascinating thing about Michael Tanji’s observations was that they were made in 2012, largely in response to the spate of China attributions headed up by Dmitri Alperovitch’s highly publicized 2011 Shady Rat report. Four years later, the fixation on pattern-derived attribution remained a problem within the cyber security collective, this time with Russia as the target de jour. In 2011, the Chinese caseload was spread across a broad field of separate cyber attacks. In 2016, the Russian data set was limited to a single event — the DNC cyber attack.

Moreover, the data set in 2016 was under the exclusive control of a single entity — CrowdStrike. While select malware samples were farmed out to like-minded vendors, for the most part outside analysis of the DNC cyber penetration was limited to the information provided by CrowdStrike in its initial report. Even the FBI found itself in the awkward position of being denied direct access to the DNC servers, having instead to make use of “forensic images” of the server provided by CrowdStrike, along with its investigative report and findings.

There is much unknown about these scans — were they taken from May 6, when CrowdStrike first detected what it assessed to be a Russian presence inside the DNC server? Or are they from June 10, the last day the server was in operation? The difference could be significant, keeping in mind the fact that there were more than 30 days between the two events.

In this intervening time, CrowdStrike watched Guccifer 2.0 exfiltrate documents. It also possibly engaged in offensive measures, such as the dangling of so-called “attractive data” (the Russian-language tainted opposition research documents come to mind.) The possibility of additional manipulation of data cannot be discounted. However, even though members of Congress are starting to call for the FBI to take physical possession of the server and conduct its own independent forensic investigation, the server remains in the possession of the DNC.

Through the release of its “Bears in the Midst” report, CrowdStrike anticipated that the US government and, by extension, the American people, would place their trust in CrowdStrike’s integrity regarding Russian attribution. The media has, for the most part, accepted at face value CrowdStrike’s Russian attribution regarding the DNC cyber attack.

The US government, while slower to come onboard, eventually published a Joint Statement by the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security in October 2016 that declared, “The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails…by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.”

On December 29, 2016, the FBI and DHS released a Joint Analysis Report (JAR) that directly attributed the presence of both the Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear actors on the DNC server to “spearfishing” attacks, thereby eliminating from consideration any possibility that Guccifer 2.0 penetrated the DNC server through a “zero day” exploit. This was a curious assessment, given that the only data in existence regarding what had transpired inside the DNC server was the data collected by CrowdStrike — data CrowdStrike maintains did not provide evidence pertaining to how the DNC server was initially breached by either Cozy Bear or Fancy Bear.

The Director of National Intelligence followed up with a National Intelligence Assessment, released on January 6, 2017, that similarly endorsed the findings of CrowdStrike when it came to Russian attribution for the Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear penetration of the DNC, as well as linking Guccifer 2.0 to the GRU, or Russian military intelligence. It was the strength of this national assessment that closed the book on debate on the matter of Russian attribution. Senators and Congressmen, intelligence officials and media pundits — all seem to be in agreement that Russia was singularly responsible for the cyber attack against the DNC, and the subsequent release of documents acquired from that breach. “Without a doubt,” “undeniable,” “incontrovertible” — this was the verbiage that accompanied any discussion of the case against Russia.

The genesis moment for this collective clarity, however, remains the carefully choreographed release of the CrowdStrike report, “Bears in the Midst,” and the accompanying Washington Post exclusive laying the blame for the DNC cyber attack squarely at the feet of Russia. From this act all else followed, leading to the certainty that accompanied this attribution was enough to overcome the challenge posed by the sudden appearance of Guccifer 2.0, enabling the same sort of shoehorned analysis to occur that turned Guccifer 2.0 into a Russian agent as well.

Much of this discussion turns on the level of credibility given to the analysis used by CrowdStrike to underpin its conclusions. Alperovitch, the author of the “Bears in the Midst” report, does not have a good record in this regard; one need only look at the controversy surrounding the report he wrote on Shady Rat while working for McAfee. A new report released by Alperovitch and CrowdStrike casts further aspersions on Alperovitch’s prowess as a cyber analyst, and CrowdStrike’s overall methodology used to make its Russian attribution.

On December 22, 2016, CrowdStrike published a new report purporting to detail a new cyber intrusion by the Fancy Bear actor, titled “Danger Close: Fancy Bear Tracking of Ukrainian Field Artillery Units.” This analysis, prepared by Adam Meyers, CrowdStrike’s vice president for intelligence, was claimed to further support “CrowdStrike’s previous assessments that Fancy Bear is likely affiliated with the Russian military intelligence (GRU). This report was used to promote a Jan. 4 live discussion event with Meyers and Alperovitch, titled “Bear Hunting: History and Attribution of Russian Intelligence Operations,” which was intended to educate the audience on the links between Fancy Bear and the GRU.

The “Danger Close” report was presented as further validation of CrowdStrike’s Falcon Program, which CrowdStrike claims helps organizations stop cyber penetrations through proactive measures developed through a deep understanding of the adversary and the measures needed to stop them. It was Falcon that “lit up” ten seconds after being installed on the DNC server back on May 6, 2016, fingering Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear as the culprits in the DNC attack. Falcon was now being linked to this newest effort at Russian attribution.

The only problem for Meyers, Alperovitch and CrowdStrike was that “Danger Close” was wrong — dead wrong — in every aspect of its analysis. The report was dissected by none other than Jeffrey Carr — the same individual who criticized Alperovitch over his Shady Rat claims. One of Carr’s most important findings deals directly with the credibility methodology used by CrowdStrike to attribute Fancy Bear to the GRU. “Part of the evidence supporting Russian government involvement in the DNC and related hacks (including the German Bundestag and France’s TV5 Monde),” Carr writes, “stemmed from the assumption that X-Agent malware was exclusively developed and used by Fancy Bear. We now know that’s false, and that the source code has been obtained by others outside of Russia.” Carr cites at least two examples, one a security company, the other a hacker collective, of the X-Agent malware existing “in the wild.” If these two entities have the X-Agent malware, Carr notes, “then so do others, and attribution to APT28/Fancy Bear/GRU based solely upon the presumption of ‘exclusive use’ must be thrown out.”

In one fell swoop, Carr destroyed the very premise upon which CrowdStrike not only attributed the DNC cyber attack to Russia, but the heart and soul of CrowdStrike’s business platform — the Falcon Platform used by CrowdStrike to provide “end point” protection to its clients. Far from representing an intelligent platform capable of discerning threats through advanced algorithms and proprietary techniques, the Falcon Platform seems to be little more than a database pre-programmed to deliver a preordained finding — X-Agent equals Fancy Bear, and Fancy Bear equals Russia.



Also, metadata analysis by an independent researcher which contradicts the 'Russia Hack' narrative:

https://theforensicator.wordpress.com



Forensicator maintains his position that the most probable and plausible interpretation of the observations derived from the NGP VAN 7zip metadata is:

There is evidence that suggests the files in the NGP VAN archive were copied (twice) locally, on the East Coast, US. Further, there are indications that a USB-2 capable media may have been used for the first copy operation on July 5, 2016 and that a FAT-formatted media was used in the second copy operation on Sept. 1, 2016. (A USB flash drive is one of the most popular FAT-formatted media, but there are others including SD cards and removable hard drives.)



Essentially: files eventually published by the Guccifer 2.0 persona were likely initially downloaded by a person with physical access to a computer possibly connected to the internal DNC network. The individual most likely used a USB drive to copy the information.
Last edited by Belligerent Savant on Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:39 pm

The constant use of "bear" and ursine imagery and the same old pictures of St. Basil's (since the Kremlin is not as photogenic) and Putin and hats and red colors is a tip-off that whatever the truth-content of a claim or article, it's at least being decorated (by author, editor or re-poster) as propaganda for IDIOTS. The metaphoric bestiary of this Western enemy-image really has not improved in a hundred years.
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby Belligerent Savant » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:52 pm

.

Indeed; reads like B-movie satire... in-line with much of the 'news' over the last ~2 years.
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby liminalOyster » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:30 pm

JackRiddler » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:39 pm wrote:The constant use of "bear" and ursine imagery and the same old pictures of St. Basil's (since the Kremlin is not as photogenic) and Putin and hats and red colors is a tip-off that whatever the truth-content of a claim or article, it's at least being decorated (by author, editor or re-poster) as propaganda for IDIOTS. The metaphoric bestiary of this Western enemy-image really has not improved in a hundred years.


Not sure I've watched this tour de force of redneck metaphysics in my adulthood.

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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:01 pm

I remember it too. The first and last words in it are literally:

"There is a bear in the woods... if there is a bear?"

And the last clause is almost sheepish! What passed for critical thinking at the time, I guess.
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby liminalOyster » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:25 pm

Came across this again and it occurred to me that this is pretty much the contemporary version of the "The Bear" ad.

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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby Elvis » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:15 pm

liminalOyster wrote:Came across this again and it occurred to me that this is pretty much the contemporary version of the "The Bear" ad.


Wow! Naturally I had to see who "CIR" is—Committee to Investigate Russia. Check out the advisory board:

Advisory Board

Max Boot Military Historian and Foreign Policy Analyst

James Clapper Former Director of National Intelligence

Evelyn Farkas, Ph.D. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia

General Michael Hayden Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency

Jeh Johnson Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security

Michael Morell Former Acting Director of the CIA

Norman Ornstein American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar

Leon Panetta Former Secretary of Defense, Former Director of the CIA, and Former White House Chief of Staff

Rob Reiner Director, Actor, and Activist

Charles Sykes Conservative Commentator

Clint Watts Foreign Policy Research Institute Fellow and Former FBI Agent



That's a stellar cast.

Rob Reiner, huh? I guess Meathead has turned into Archie Bunker?
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby JackRiddler » Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:39 pm

Well, no. Archie would be for Trump. Or maybe Nobody. Or dead, obviously.

Disgusting that on the strength of a role in a sitcom 45 years ago, Reiner is still cast as a representative of everything "liberal" (in U.S.-speak that also means "leftist"), here allying patriotically with the Russiagate Op, a.k.a. Return of the PNAC. Jesus. Max Boot! (Only guy worse than that I can think of, you probably don't remember. That total maniac, um, was a UN ambassador I think because even the Bushies didn't want him anywhere near policy... um, Borgon? Bilton? You know, with the moustache? Psycho? Thank god at least he's gone, right?)
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby Jerky » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:50 pm

Belligerent Savant » 24 Mar 2018 18:43 wrote:^^^^
I recall a comment some time ago from then-moderator WRex to AD, with the astute (yet obvious) observation (I'm paraphrasing here) that AD was by far the NUMBER ONE source of Fascism-related articles and imagery (swastikas; bearded, tattooed, shirtless and angry white guys/"bros", etc.) in this forum.

Ironic, is it not? The #1 contributor of content they claim to abhor (and further, claiming that others within this forum secretly -- or not so secretly -- subscribe to such dogma, therefore compelling AD to "save us" by supplying an endless stream of said content.... ENDLESSLY).


Wow.

That is such a sub-moronic, value-free, trite, pop-psychoanalysis observation, I'm glad I wasn't around when it was made, because it might have given me a rage-induced aneurysm.

Considering the way things are going, BelSav, anyone who isn't seriously concerned about the incredibly rapid (and well planned) multi-front rise of a defacto New Fascist International isn't paying attention to world events.

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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby liminalOyster » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:32 pm

Jerky, what do you think of that CIR video?
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby Elvis » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:49 pm

Jerky wrote:anyone who isn't seriously concerned about the incredibly rapid (and well planned) multi-front rise of a defacto New Fascist International isn't paying attention to world events.


You don't get it. The issue is not any lack of serious concern about fascism.

It's about trying to dominate the board with a narrow range of ideas, largely served up as scolds and lessons for little kids and too often drawn from writers who, wittingly or not, promote neoliberal/MIC propaganda. Because leftists have it all wrong, y'see.

Yes, it's the content.
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby JackRiddler » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:58 pm

I'm reposting this here because I don't want to keep pushing up threads with stupid titles:

Catalan independence was of little concern to me until the vote and the Spanish state's jackbooted response, massive physical assaults on the people and suspension of democracy and human rights. This was then turned into an EU-wide policy. Now I don't see how anyone could not see that as the definitive evil and support the struggle against it, including, if it comes to that, the victory of the independence movement.

You shouldn't have to caveat every comment about Western propaganda tropes with protestations that you are not a Putin dupe. This is exactly the kind of wasteful friction the propaganda is designed to create. Fuck that. I don't have to apologize for Russian politics, I never supported it, and it is peripheral to the homegrown repressive and racist politics being presented as liberal or democratic in the EU-US Newspeak. Jerky won't apologize for adopting the Alexander-Pompeo (NSA-CIA) view of Wikileaks, or protest that he doesn't support them, even though that's more relevant here.

This is absolutely the Cold War anti-communism revived, except worse, more incoherent, perhaps even more dangerous because of the very high chaos factor and serious crisis of capitalism.

Really, the limited Western/liberal sympathy the Greeks got in 2015 was thanks to it still being early in the process of demonizing Putin. If that had happened today, you might even see Sanders felt forced to approve the idea that Athenians marching were influenced through Twitter in a Russian plot to undermine the beautiful EU and of course needed to be suppressed as a matter of Western security.

.
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby Belligerent Savant » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:00 pm

.
Spot-on.


You shouldn't have to caveat every comment about Western propaganda tropes with protestations that you are not a Putin dupe. This is exactly the kind of wasteful friction the propaganda is designed to create. Fuck that. I don't have to apologize for Russian politics, I never supported it, and it is peripheral to the homegrown repressive and racist politics being presented as liberal or democratic in the EU-US Newspeak.


Indeed.
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby liminalOyster » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:09 pm

JackRiddler » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:58 pm wrote:
Really, the limited Western/liberal sympathy the Greeks got in 2015 was thanks to it still being early in the process of demonizing Putin. If that had happened today, you might even see Sanders felt forced to approve the idea that Athenians marching were influenced through Twitter in a Russian plot to undermine the beautiful EU and of course needed to be suppressed as a matter of Western security.

.


Fuck, that's good.

edit: Perhaps title here should be changed to "MK Ursa aka Cold War Redux as RI Subject" ... ?
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Re: The Russian Conspiracy as RI subject

Postby SonicG » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:26 pm

Maybe this belongs in the Upcoming War on Russia thread but I will just leave some tidbits here...I think one of the hardest things to deal with in all of this is the pea-brain easily swayed semi-literate chunk of gray matter floating in Trump's head...

Two officials said Trump told Putin during a phone call after Putin's re-election last week: "If you want to have an arms race we can do that, but I'll win."
...
The White House announced Monday that the U.S. would expel 60 Russian diplomats — the largest number since the Cold War — in response to Moscow's alleged nerve-agent attack in the U.K. on a former spy. It was the brashest U.S. brushback of Russia since Trump took office, yet the president didn't comment on it. And he insisted the White House's message include the idea that he "still wants to work with Russia."

Trump was similarly silent Thursday after Russia announced it would expel U.S. diplomats and close the American consulate in St. Petersburg in response to U.S. moves earlier this week.
...
Since approving the sanctions, officials said Trump has given White House officials conflicting messages on whether they should showcase the move publicly. In some instances Trump says he's fine with it, while at other times he's directed aides not to talk about it, they said.
...
Rex Tillerson, Trump's outgoing secretary of state, led the effort to convince Trump to approve the new arms for Ukraine, officials said. The plan, which Russia opposed, included the sale of U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missiles that Kiev has for years requested from Washington. President Barack Obama had repeatedly refused to approve Ukraine's request out of concern it would escalate U.S. tensions with Russia.

Tillerson scheduled a meeting with the president to discuss the plan shortly after the national security team approved it last summer, and he raised the issue with Trump in their regular meetings over the next few months, officials said.

As the policy sat on his desk awaiting his signature, the president expressed concern that it would escalate tensions with Russia and lead to a broader conflict, officials said. They said he also saw Ukraine as a problem for Europe and questioned why he should have to do something about it. And he insisted Ukraine purchase the arms from the U.S., not receive them for free, officials said, before signing off on the policy in December.

"Tillerson just wore him down," a White House official said.
...
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald ... es-n861256



Don't know where to put this either:
Sad tragedy becomes political football?

Distraught residents demonstrate after Russian mall fire kills at least 41 children

MOSCOW — Thousands of Russians gathered Tuesday in front of the main municipal building in the Siberian city of Kemerovo to demand answers following Sunday’s fire in a local mall, which killed at least 64 people — 41 of them reported to be children.

The disaster at the Winter Cherry mall has gripped the nation. The fire’s cause has not yet been determined, but local officials say a child may have lit a foam ball in a play area. The blaze quickly engulfed the mall’s top floor, trapping children in a nearby movie theater.

Fire alarms did not sound, and fire doors were locked. An investigative committee said that the alarms have been out of service since March 19 and that a security guard neglected to trip manual alarms once the blaze was reported.

President Vladimir Putin flew to the city, about 2,000 miles east of Moscow, to meet with local officials and calm speculation that many more people died than officially reported.

At first, about a dozen demonstrators gathered Tuesday morning to call for a full probe of the fire. Their ranks grew throughout the day to an estimated 4,000, according to video footage from the scene. Many of the demonstrators doubt the official count of 64 dead, alleging that the toll is much higher.

“Truth! Truth!” they chanted. “How many dead?”

They also called for the resignation of Kemerovo Mayor Ilya Seredyuk and the regional governor, Aman Tuleyev. Footage showed riot police in tactical gear standing between people and the administration building.
“Resign! Take them to court!” the demonstrators shouted.

Authorities reportedly have detained four people for questioning in the case, including the director of a company that rents the mall’s top two floors.

Sunday’s fire apparently claimed an entire class of schoolchildren, some of whom died after calling parents or other relatives on their cellphones to say goodbye. Others posted desperate messages on social media before falling silent.
During Putin’s meeting with local officials, Tuleyev apologized to him for what happened in Kemerovo but not to the demonstrators outside.

Instead, according to Russian broadcaster RBC, Tuleyev told Putin that the demonstration was attended by just 200 of the usual suspects — opposition protesters, rather than the families of the dead and their outraged compatriots.

Meanwhile, Deputy Governor Sergey Tsivilev took a different tack. Later in the day, he came out and begged the crowd for forgiveness on bended knee.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/eu ... e810ec9a91
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