Friday January 18, 2019
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Blame Game Continues: Donald Trump denies Russia’s possible hacking into the US political system

U.S government actively encourages organizations to have good anti-virus protections due to Russia's possible hacking into the system

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told an interviewer on a Russian TV network that he doubts Russia was involved. Wikimedia
  • FBI told Arizona election officials that Russians had hacked into their system
  • Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told an interviewer on a Russian TV network that he doubts Russia was involved
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin denies any connection to the cyberattacks

The controversy still rages over Russia’s possible hacking into computer systems used by American political entities. Defence Secretary Ash Carter has warned Russia not to try to interfere with the U.S general election in November. Yet Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he doubts that Russia is involved.

The election — the heart of U.S democracy — is at the center of the debate. But before we tell you how … a little background.

The system is decentralized. Votes are collected where people live, and then each state sets up its own security, in its own electoral system, to tabulate its votes. This method is intended to reduce fraud.

So imagine the shock when the FBI told Arizona election officials that Russians had hacked into their system. Experts also blame Russia for hacking into Democratic party emails.

A former U.S ambassador to Georgia and Kazakhstan, William Courtney, writes that Russia will be seen as a “rogue elephant” if it continues its disruptions.

“Great powers have to work with each other to accomplish objectives. So the United States and China are working together on the global warming issue. A great power can’t exist in isolation,” said Courtney.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told an interviewer on a Russian TV network that he doubts Russia was involved, and Russian President Vladimir Putin denies any connection to the cyberattacks.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin believes any attacks would have to have been approved by key leaders.

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“You have to believe that at the highest levels, that these strategies have been agreed to,” said Cardin.

The worry now for Republican Senator Bob Corker is of any Russian tampering in the general election, which will choose the next U.S president.

“If they can demonstrate that … maybe they affected it, obviously that creates distrust in the outcome, [and] instability, so that’s a big win for them,” said Corker.

Remember the separate state electoral systems? Courtney suggests the Department of Homeland Security should protect election systems as part of the nation’s “critical infrastructures.”

“That would mean that the U.S government will be actively involved to encourage those organizations that have good cyber hygiene, to have good anti-virus protections and other things,” said Courtney.

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But that may be too late to do that for the presidential election, now less than 60 days away. (VOA)

  • Ayushi Gaur

    Trump has virtually lost the elections from Clinton

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Facebook Kills 300 Fake Pages and Accounts Linked To Russia

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories

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Facebook, social media
Facebook kills over 300 Russia-linked fake accounts, Pages, (VOA)

Social networking giant Facebook on Thursday killed over 300 fake Pages and accounts linked to Russia that it said was “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, almost two years after the US presidential election.

The social media giant removed 364 Pages and accounts as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries.

“The two operations we found originated in Russia, and one was active in a variety of countries while the other was specific to Ukraine.

“Despite their misrepresentations of their identities, we found that these Pages and accounts were linked to employees of Sputnik, a news agency based in Moscow, and that some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

About $135,000 were spent in ads, and paid for in euros, roubles and dollars, over a time span from October 2013 to now.

Around 790,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages (now taken down) on the social media platform.

“We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they post. In these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves,” Gleicher added.

The pages hosted about 190 events, with the most recent scheduled for January 2019, and about 1,200 people expressing interest in them.

We cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred, the company added.

Facebook, data
Facebook staring at bigger problems this year, warns analyst. VOA

Separately, the social networking giant removed another 107 pages, groups and accounts as well as 41 Instagram accounts that were designed to look like they were operating from Ukraine, but were in fact part of a network that originated in Russia.

Also Read: Facebook Violated Cyber Security Law: Vietnam

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories on topics ranging from weather, protests, NATO to health conditions at schools.

“We identified some technical overlap with Russia-based activity we saw prior to the US midterm elections, including behaviour that shared characteristics with previous Internet Research Agency (IRA) activity,” the company said. (IANS)