After the election, concerns over Russia propaganda and hacking activities influencing the 2016 elections became a hot topic, especially after a CIA report on the issue leaked. While Donald Trump attempted to dismiss the concerns, the FBI stepped forward to publicly back the CIA’s statements on the issue. Now, the FBI had doubled down on the report with a detailed look at how the hacks were executed and why precisely Russia is to blame.
The report, which terms the Russian hacking operation “Grizzly Steppe,” has extensive technical analysis of both the techniques used to breach DNC systems and lays the blame for the operation directly on Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the FSB. Little of the information is new, although it does offer examples of malicious code and other data useful for protecting against breaches, but it mostly serves to emphasize both foreign and domestic intelligence agencies are deeply concerned about Russian activity.
It also creates a problem for Trump, who continues to attempt to dismiss the concerns instead of addressing them directly. President Obama has toughened sanctions against Russia and certain members of the Russian intelligence service, and has ejected 35 Russian citizens, many of whom were believed to be spies. Trump has also been widely criticized for choosing Rex Tillerson, a former Exxon CEO and who received the Order of Friendship from the Russian government, as Secretary of State, amid growing calls from Republicans and Democrats for a full investigation. Trump is currently a private citizen, of course, but all this will change on January 20th, when he becomes President and must decide which calls to heed.