Wikileaks recently released a trove of documents purported to be from our national security agencies and how they might use their talents and information to spy on people all over the world. Indeed, FBI Director James Comey recently explained that “there is no such thing as absolute privacy.” The release of these documents underscores the need for us to be free and safe from government intrusion upon our privacy as well as the necessity to take precautions to ensure that our information and critical governmental functions are safe from exposure.
Wikileaks Release Confirms Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
This is a worldwide crisis as U.S. intelligence agencies are not the only players in the cyberintelligence field. In a previous article, I explained many of the threats which we might encounter. There are additional concerns regarding our voting systems and their security. The Wikileaks documents, if true, demonstrate that the U.S. cyberintelligence system has been breached. The documents appear to be consistent with our recent historical technical capacity.
Within the release itself, there are claims of damaging, yet unclassified information sharing related to U.S. hacking tools in order to maintain anonymity. This is concerning because this means that non-U.S. actors may potentially have much of this information — which has already been claimed by the government.
Many people attribute the design of the “hacking tools” to a consortium called The Equation Group which techies believe is the NSA. Some of the details on this information was apparently found in some documents which Snowden leaked thus MATCHING The Equation Group with the NSA. Snowden originally attributed those leaks to the Russians.
8) Circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility. Here’s why that is significant:
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 16, 2016
The release of the documents by Wikileaks contributes to the theory that Russians were involved in the hacking of the election because it confirms the methods potentially employed by those who use U.S. hacking tools as a weapon against the U.S. itself. U.S. Intelligence sources report that Russia is among the suspects of those who might be behind the current Wikileaks release.
If reports are true, there now exists evidence that these and other stolen hacking tools are systematically being used against the U.S. in a concerted effort to undermine our country. It is important to note that Russia has at its arsenal extensive industry built upon spam, phishing, and hacking and has previously used those found guilty of hacking crimes to help with their cyberintelligence units in exchange for freedom.
There have also been numerous claims of a Wikileaks-Russian relationship. Since the election, there has yet to be a significant Wikileaks release of information damaging to the Trump Administration nor recently on Russia. Indeed, one might surmise that this is part of a coordinated effort to dismantle U.S. institutions from the inside-out.
Election & Vote Hacking
I have written previously on how these hacking tools are used to ransom business leaders and politicians, how the election was likely compromised by such a super computer virus, and how this has called into question the vulnerability and security of our election system and actual voting machines, leaving them open to hacking from foreign and domestic entities. Additionally, there is convincing evidence that Russian hacking, at least in Arizona, likely occurred prior to the Primary Election. The vulnerability of machines themselves is already highly documented. We also have an extensive nationwide issue related to voter registration system vulnerability which has already been breached in several states and knocked people off the voter rolls, thus preventing them from voting properly.
People are being disenfranchised as a result of vote hacking. Yes, this is happening right now — and it is only going to get worse.
One of the revelations made within the recent cyberintelligence release is that hacking tools are subject to irrelevancy at a moments notice — meaning that someone may come up with a fix to any intrusion at any time. What’s more important, is that we continue to be vigilant about our current security breaches on an on-going basis and rapidly work to solve those issues.
Fortunately, we have the capability to dramatically reduce our collective risk of cyberexposure. At the individual level, it is likely with the recent release of information will result in patches and updates. We should also take care to educate ourselves about how to avoid web-based exposure and identifying phishing attempts.
With regard to our government and our voting systems, we will do well to advocate for open source voting systems with multiple redundancy, such as those advocated by the California Association of Voting Officials. Finally, we must take care to secure the online voter registration database from intrusion and voter disenfranchisement. If we fail to address vulnerability issues related to our elections systems as soon as possible, the consequences will gradually become severe enough to undermine the foundation our democracy.