United States Election of 2016
An example of the hackers’ tendency to use social media to propagate political stance is on the day of Election when there was a group on Twitter which sent the hashtag War against Democrats about 1700 times (Shane, N.p). The hackers were responsible for creating the groups that spread the propaganda. Similarly, Facebook had propagandas which included a post on Facebook which held ‘Never Hillary and the revolution must continue’. Eventually, the hackers went on to endorse Hillary rivals for the Democrats’ nomination using the information they illegally acquired from her emails.
The hackers were able to acquire Facebook, and Twitter accounts with the American profiles. They would then impersonate the Americans to improve the credibility of the propaganda they were sharing on the internet. An inquiry by the Federal Bureau of investigation indicates that over 10 million people saw the hackers’ ads on Facebook. Also, the hackers were able to purchase space on computer servers within the United States to make the political opinions appear to be coming from within the nation. Making the voters of United States think that the political views were from within would significantly influence their choice of a president.
Finally, the hackers illegally got information of the democrat’s emails from the Democrats National Committee information system. The hackers then shared the controversial information on the financing of the party presidential candidate with the public portraying Hillary as lacking leadership ethics necessary for holding the president office. The hackers also compromised the personal files of the party leaders, official chats and the credit information of the party donors (Nance, 2). At the same time, the hackers were cultivating an excellent reputation for Trump through campaigns on the social media.
Secondly, there was a registration of a domain whose purpose was to trick the Democrats National Committee employees’ using fraudulent emails. The address present in the political organisation system malware was similar to one that had been used to the parliament of German in 2015. An investigation by the security officers from German revealed the malware was from Russia. Their findings concurred with those of crowd strike which claimed that the attack was a Russian operation. Besides, there was a similar SSL certificate present in both breaches.
Further, there was the accidental inclusion of Russian-language metadata in the leaked files. Also, the documents had errors which were in the Russian language. The hackers later got rid of only those errors which were in the Russian language. The Russian language present on some of the leaked document was a confirmation of what the information system auditors suspected to be an attack by two Russian Intelligence groups. Besides, the Crowd strike company claims that the methods of deliberate targeting and ‘access management’ during the breach were similar to a nation-state level capabilities.
Lastly, Guccifer 2.0 who claimed sole responsibility for leaking the files said to be a Romanian. However, Guccifer could neither speak the Romanian language nor write necessary codes in the language on the motherboard.
Another technique of identifying the source of the computer hack is by analysing the language the hacker used during the breach. Whereby the grammar and comments are available in the software codes. A keen examination of the files reveals details on whether the language can be translated into another dialect. For instance, the analysis of the leaks from the Democratic National Committee indicated the conversion of the Russian alphabet to the English dialect. It is through identifying the language when an individual can verify the country from which the hacking happened.
It is also possible to identify the individuals responsible for computer breaching by comparing previous attacks to the present breach. The compassion helps establish common characteristic in the two attacks. When two cyber attacks are similar, then the hacker is likely to be one. Usually, the attackers tend to be consistent in the way they corrupt the information system of other companies. Therefore identifying the unique sequence of commands in the malware that links to previous malware helps establish the computer hacker easily.
Lastly, going through the hacked information system can assist in locating a computer hacker. An examination of the system helps one identify specific details like their Metadata log in information which the hacker overlooked. The data supports the creation of a profile of the hacker which eventually assists in determining the hacker.
The release of the information tainted the party reputation whereas the rivals benefited from the manipulation of data. The information provided the basis for validating the ongoing online campaign on defaming Hillary Clinton. It was an opportune moment to use the leaked information to promote the political agendas for nations like Russia in the United States. Over 10 million people on Facebook saw the campaigns defaming the Democrats targeting users in Michigan and Wisconsin. Eventually, the Republicans won with over 30 000 votes in the two cities.
The information was made available through sites that are popular among the American voters. Channels like the Wiki leaks went ahead to published the hacked emails. The timing was convenient because it was during the campaign season when a lot of Americans were keen to understand the potential leaders better. The period of release also heightened suspicion on allegations of a contentious agreement between Hillary campaign team with the Democratic Party. The deal was that the campaign team would oversee staffing and mailing done by the party. Besides, there were tensions of favouring Hillary Clinton during debates which only got worse with the release of the hacked information.
The Russians seem to have adequate information to prove Trump financial involvement with the Russians Oligarchs. The president asked Robert Mueller not to investigate the family business because that would be a violation of his rights. The allegations that his firm was an avenue for money laundering. Further theories suggest that the decades-long business dealings between Trump and entities in Russia may have provided Moscow with an opportunity to establish Financial Kopromat against Trump methods of doing business.
Besides, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates who were Trump’s campaign manager and deputy respectively agreed to collaborate with an investigation on Russian interference. Manafort has had corrupt ties with the Russians which could also be a leverage Russians have against Trump. Cases of connection between the Russian oligarchs and Republican politician like John McCain make Trump a reasonable kompromat.
Lastly, the president attendance at the 2013 Miss Universe event in Moscow attracted many controversies. Among the debates is one that the Russian oligarchs claimed to have a tape of the president with women in a hotel in Moscow. The issue is one that would threaten Trump’s public image if indeed it was proven to be true (Julie, N.p)
When the opponents hack a political party’s campaign system, they compromise the campaign strategy of the party. The affected party becomes pessimistic about its ability to re-invent a campaigning approach within the limited period. The despair in the political affiliation translates to the loss of trust on the capability of the electoral body to hold a democratic election. The party may boycott the election or spread insightful messages to it supporters causing post-election violence.
Also, the hack may cause a leak in the campaign strategy of the team. The opponent can use the leaked information to promote their political agenda while tarnishing the opponent name. Further, they manipulate the voters’ opinion about the competing candidates using force information. It also provides foreign countries with a chance to advance their interest in the affected states. The foreign nations compete to exploit gaps in rules and regulations to eject financial support to their preferred parties which when they win they push for the international nation agenda. Ultimately the single deed of hacking election campaign undermines democracy.
The government has partnered with security analyst. The partnership has seen the government formulate strict laws on firms threatening government activities like an election. Presently there are procedures on how technology services should be discharged and the government is still negotiating to increase the number of laws.
The breach reflects a reality of the external and internal threat facing democracy. Whereby the local risks are businesses and corrupt politicians pursuing leadership for personal interest. On the other hand nations like Russia represent the foreign powers which seek to advocate for the authoritarian leadership at the expense of democracy in the U. S.A. The incidence also shows how the personal interest of politicians with international allies can unknowingly deter America from being democratic. Further, it highlights how money is influencing the political process in the United States. Therefore the country must reexamine it political alignment to avoid undue influence by nations that oppose democracy
Ioffe, Julia. “How State-Sponsored Blackmail Works in Russia.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 11 Jan. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/01/kompromat-trump-dossier/512891/.
Scott Shane. “The New York Times” The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election, 7 Sept. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/us/politics/russia-facebook-twitter- election.html.
Malcom.W.Nance. The Plot to Hack America. New York: Skyhorse, 2016.
Meg Kelly. “The Washington Post.” All the Known Times the Trump Campaign Met with Russians, 13 Nov. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/11/13/all-of-the-known-times-the-trump-campaign-met-with Russians/? No redirect=on&utm_term=.c6482131349b.