Langley/Bezos Post Beclowns Itself One More Time in 2016, with 'Russians' Hacking a Vermont Electrical Utility #FakeNews

To our valued customers and residents of the City of Burlington,
On Thursday night, the Burlington Electric Department was alerted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the name DHS has applied to recent malicious cyber activity. We acted quickly to scan all computers in our system for the malware signature. We detected suspicious Internet traffic in a single Burlington Electric Department computer not connected to our organization’s grid systems. We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding.

There is no indication that either our electric grid or customer information has been compromised. Media reports stating that Burlington Electric was hacked or that the electric grid was breached are false.

Cybersecurity is an issue that Burlington Electric and all U.S. utilities take very seriously. We focus every day to protect the integrity of the electric grid and the personal information of our valued customers.

Federal officials have indicated that this specific type of Internet traffic also has been observed elsewhere in the country and is not unique to Burlington Electric. It’s unfortunate that an official or officials improperly shared inaccurate information with one media outlet, leading to multiple inaccurate reports around the country.

At Burlington Electric, we take great pride in conveying timely and accurate information and will continue to keep you updated about issues that impact you through our website, social media, and as many other communications channels as possible.

The entire Burlington Electric family would like to thank all of you — our customers — for your continued confidence and trust in our work.

If you have any questions, please contact Burlington Electric directly.

Happy New Year!

Neale F. Lunderville
General Manager

— https://www.burlingtonelectric.com/

Russia Weaponized Some Americans' Stupidity: Or How 50%+ of Polled Democrats Came to Believe Vlad Through Telekenesis Hacked Their Paper Ballots in Michigan for Trump

If the goal of these steady drip drip of leaks is to de-legitimize the president elect, or cast doubt on the validity of the election that 'Vlad hacked', the legacy media has managed to convince over 50% of Democratic voters in one poll that the Russians did in fact 'hack the election' -- notwithstanding the heavy reliance on paper ballots in places like Michigan. For everyone else who isn't drinking the #NeverTrump koolaid, the debacle in Vermont by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 'sources' that the Washington Post initially couldn't bother to check with the allegedly hacked utility itself have hurt the Russian Hackers Everywhere Narrative. As Matt Taibbi, who actually lived in Moscow for years while running The eXile alternative/crude humor newspaper wrote, something about the 'Russians hacking' the election story stinks. Matt Drudge linked to the Rolling Stone piece by Taibbi, who emphasized his personal loathing of both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, making it go viral in another example of why the presstitutes hate Drudge (since they don't control him). Perhaps not coincidentally after Drudge was featured as among the top enemies on the 'Russian propaganda useful idiots' list assembled by The Washington Post-promoted Ukro-trolls of @PropOrNot, someone likely DDOS'd the Drudge Report for a few hours this past week.

Piling on with more skepticism about the Democratic National Committee hack story and the weak circumstantial 'evidence' involving off the shelf hacking exploits being used for it, has been The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald. Naturally Greenwald is still the subject of vitriol on the part of many in mainstream media and National Security Agency mouthpieces for his support of exiled in Russia leaker Edward Snowden. Greenwald is also viewed -- somewhat without nuance, since he's also criticized the indiscriminate nature of Julian Assange's publication of hacked emails -- as a defender of Wikileaks. WL's adviser former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray says he personally received the DNC leaked data in a Washington area park, and if the Russians did hack the Democrats they provided nothing to WL.

As the Russia Analyst wrote earlier this month, Murray's passionate argument that whatever WL published about the DNC or John Podesta did not come from the Russians is bolstered by the total absence of any released evidence, despite 24/7 GCHQ electronic if not human surveillance of Julian Assange for years at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, that Assange is in contact with any Russian intelligence officers. (Yes John R. Schindler aka @20Committee and British fan gal @LouiseMensch, we're still waiting on that proof from GCHQ you'll insist releasing would 'compromise sources and methods', as if the Ecuadorians don't know the Brits can tap the fiber cables into an Embassy). The fact that the UK Guardian which played a key part in publicizing the early Snowden leaks is now resorting to falsifying quotes from Assange shows the considerable pressure Her Majesty's Government and Washington can bring to bear on mainstream media outlets that step out of line and don't do as they're told.

There's a reason the institutional Democrat Party hacks and presstitute talking heads hate debating Greenwald on their programs, because he makes them look like fools -- whatever else you want to say about GG he is a formidable debator and investigator:

Glenn Greenwald and Jeffrey Carr vs. the Crowdstrike/MSM Narrative

...the key scary claim of the Post story — that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid — was false. All the alarmist tough-guy statements issued by political officials who believed the Post’s claim were based on fiction.

Even worse, there is zero evidence that Russian hackers were even responsible for the implanting of this malware on this single laptop. The fact that malware is “Russian-made” does not mean that only Russians can use it; indeed, like a lot of malware, it can be purchased (as Jeffrey Carr has pointed out in the DNC hacking context, assuming that Russian-made malware must have been used by Russians is as irrational as finding a Russian-made Kalishnikov AKM rifle at a crime scene and assuming the killer must be Russian).

As the actual truth emerged once the utility company issued its statement, the Post rushed to fix its embarrassment, beginning by dramatically changing its headline

— https://theintercept.com/2016/12/31/russia-hysteria-infects-washpost-again-false-story-about-hacking-u-s-electric-grid/

Do you trust this man with his 'proof' that the 'Russians hacked the U.S. election' for Trump?

Security consultant Jeffrey Carr also cast doubt on claims that attacks that hit the Democratic National Committee could only have originated from Russian-sponsored hackers because they relied on the same malware that also breached Germany’s Bundestag and French TV network TV5Monde. Proponents of this theory, including the CrowdStrike researchers who analyzed the Democratic National Committee’s hacked network, argue that the pattern strongly implicates Russia because no other actor would have the combined motivation and resources to hack the same targets. But as Carr pointed out, the full source code for the X-Agent implant that has long been associated with APT28 was independently obtained by researchers from antivirus provider Eset.

”If ESET could do it, so can others,” Carr wrote. “It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as CrowdStrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.”

— http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/12/did-russia-tamper-with-the-2016-election-bitter-debate-likely-to-rage-on/

Alperovitch and the Foreign Funded G(CC)lobalist NATO Think Tank, the Atlantic Council:
Or a Sneak Preview from 2013 of How Trump Will Fight Back Against Foreign Funded Adversaries Trying to Sabotage a New Foreign Policy in 2017

As previously mentioned by the Russia Analyst on this site, Greenwald's source Jeffrey Carr has been a persistent critic of the Democratic National Committee-hired group Crowdstrike and its not as competent as he pretends in cybersecurity CEO Dmitry Alperovitch. Who is, as we've previously pointed out, a Soviet born American citizen whose parents left Russia during the early 1990s and thereby may hold some grudge against their former homeland which left them, like millions of other highly educated Russians, impoverished after the Soviet collapse. Alperovitch also sits on the board of the Atlantic Council which is funded by the military industrial complex and foreign governments to represent NATO as its non-profit advocacy tank voice in Washington.

In 2013, when the question of the Atlantic Council accepting Saudi and Qatari funding came up during the fight over Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel's nomination to Secretary of Defense, the Atlantic Council's then President and CEO Fred Kempe insisted claims that foreign entities exerted a questionable influence over his organization to buy American Mideast policy with petrodollars were ridiculous.

Nonetheless, the Russia Analyst hopes in 2017 as the Atlantic Council attacks Donald J. Trump's policy of detente with the Russian Federation, a Trump White House will have the guts to go after their Saudi and Qatari funding and its influence over the consistently anti-Russian, pro-Syria jihadi messaging coming out of the AC and other 'think tanks' -- and whether such ties to governments on opposite sides of the Syrian proxy war to Russia should cause the public to question the motivations of AC's fellows and board members, including Alperovitch. We should note for example, that Breitbart's Joel Pollak (whose name the AC misspells as Joel Pollack for some reason) back in 2013 questioned the ample funding of the Saudi-funded Sunni Muslim Hariri family of Lebanon to the AC's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, a consistent champion of the Syria jihadist cause with some family members also expressing public support for Hamas:

The Atlantic Council, chaired by former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), released a list late Friday evening of corporate donors as well as foreign governments that had funded it over the past five years.

The list did not shed light on individuals such as Saad Hariri, whose family has given generously to the Atlantic Council and who has supported the Hamas terror organization publicly, as well as offering financial support to Syrian rebels.

— http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2013/02/08/hagel-atlantic-council/

Breitbart’s Joel Pollack complains that “The list did not shed light on individuals such as Saad Hariri, whose family has given generously to the Atlantic Council and who has supported the Hamas terror organization publicly, as well as offering financial support to Syrian rebels.”

Like most 501(c)(3) organizations, the Council does not disclose individual donors. But the list wouldn’t have shed any light on Saad Hariri, in any case, given that he has no affiliation with the Council. (That said, conflating support for the political wing of Hamas, which like it or not constitutes the democratically elected government in Gaza, and support for terrorism is simplistic; even more so considering that Saad Hariri’s father, former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, was murdered by Hezbollah terrorists.) We have, however, received generous support from Bahaa Hariri, Rafik’s eldest son, who is a businessman and not a political figure. We’ve hardly hidden this fact. Bahaa Hariri sits on our board of directors and we’ve proudly named our Middle East Center after his father, a great force for peace in the region whose work was cut short by an assassin.

Like all organizations of its kind, the Atlantic Council has to fund its work by cultivating donors. As our focus has broadened from NATO to addressing global challenges by harnessing transatlantic cooperation and values, so has our circle of foreign funders. But we’ve always placed the integrity of our work above the preferences of our funders.

— http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/the-atlantic-council-foreign-funding-and-intellectual-independence

As the German blogger 'b' at Moon of Alabama writes, the collapse of the 'Russian state sponsored hackers hit the Vermont power grid story' in turn, damages the credibility of the DNC emails being the result of a hack and not an insider leak fable being pushed by a politicized CIA through its primary mouthpieces for the last several decades, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

With the latest Russian hacking story falling apart due to the fact that the easily downloadable (from a site that says proudly 'Made in Ukraine' no less) malware could've been used by any teenage script kiddie rather than the best hackers on the planet who work for the GRU/SVR/FSB, some dissenting voices in Congress like Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) feel more emboldened to challenge the '17 intelligence agencies consensus' Narrative head on. And the legacy media including some of the talking heads on the 'conservative'' Fox News Channel can't have that -- especially when other Trump friendly outlets like The Daily Caller or especially the hated Steve Bannon-linked Breitbart News can exploit the breach with further questioning of the Narrative:

The claim in the first piece, based on anonymous “officials”, was that Russia hacked into the U.S. electricity grid through a utility company in Vermont. But then the utility companies in question, Burlington Electric, issued a statement that a recent scan of its IT systems had found only one laptop with some malware and that the laptop in questions was not connected to its networks at all. There was nothing found on any net-connected system. It had reported the find to the federal U.S. government. (Some very shortsighted “officials” immediately abused the confidential company information to miss-inform the Washington Post.) The utility company found the malware by scanning for a malware signature published in a lame recent assessment by Homeland Security and the FBI.

Dubious claims of foreign hacking of the electricity grid have already been made in 2009. Its an old trick of the Obama administration to achieve some political aims.

The Washington Post was obviously so eager to publish another of its daily “Russian hacking” fakes that it did not even ask the two Vermont utilities in question before pushing the stenographed piece out of the door.

That may well have been because the lead editorial of that day was warning of Putin hacking the U.S. electricity network and (again) hitting at Trump:


For any American leader, an attempt to subvert U.S. democracy ought to be unforgivable — even if he is the intended beneficiary. Some years ago, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor,” and the fear at the time was of a cyberattack collapsing electric grids or crashing financial markets. Now we have a real cyber-Pearl Harbor, though not one that was anticipated.


Pearl Harbor was followed by the U.S. entry into a world war. Do the editors want to repeat that when alluding to it?

The editorial also pushed a bunch of wholly invented conspiracy theories:


Why is Mr. Trump so dismissive of Russia’s dangerous behavior? Some say it is his lack of experience in foreign policy, or an oft-stated admiration for strongmen, or naivete about Russian intentions. But darker suspicions persist. Mr. Trump has steadfastly refused to be transparent about his multibillion-dollar business empire. Are there loans or deals with Russian businesses or the state that were concealed during the campaign? Are there hidden communications with Mr. Putin or his representatives? We would be thrilled to see all the doubts dispelled, but Mr. Trump’s odd behavior in the face of a clear threat from Russia, matched by Mr. Putin’s evident enthusiasm for the president-elect, cannot be easily explained.


During the election campaign WaPo was the news paper with the most anti-Trump screeds on its neoconned editorial page. That actually helped Trump by making him the obvious anti-Neocon candidate. But “Pearl Harbor” comparisons and “darker suspicions” beat even the most stupid earlier pieces on him.

I [MoA’s ‘b’] suspect that the pushing of the Vermont hack was also an attempted hit against Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont who was scammed out of the Democratic candidacy by the Clinton aligned Democratic National Council. He would now either have to jump on the “Russian hacking->bad Putin->bad-Trump” train or could be blamed of pro-Russian, pro-Putin and pro-Trump tendencies. All such tendencies are of course bad in the view of the pseudo-liberal Washington establishment which is busy promoting the New Red Scare.

But back to that malware. DHS and FBI had published a “report” (pdf) which again attempted to blame Russia of hacking the Democratic National Council while again providing zero actual evidence of such a hack (hint: there is none). The 13 pages include 2 with amateur graphics of a trivial hack architecture and 7 with amateur advice on how to protect a network. Of interest in it were samples and checksums of moduls of the hacking software it attributed to Russia and a list of IP addresses through which it claims the DNC hack was made. Of special interest is also what it does not say.

Several well known IT security experts have said earlier, like me, that such “reports” and claims are bullshit. A few more add to that:

Jonathon Zdziarski: Any antivirus company doing any amount of threat intelligence would be able to come up with more solid indicators than FBI released.

John McAfee (now often nutty but right in this): If it looks like the Russians did it I can guarantee you it wasn’t the Russians.

Matt Tait: My money’s on this all turns out to be commodity malware and not even APT28/APT29 and everyone jumping on the bandwagon will look very silly.

All, and especially Matt Tait, are right.

Wordfence, also a reputed IT security company, took a detailed look at the samples and tables in the new DHS/FBI “report” and concludes: The IP addresses that DHS provided may have been used for an attack by a state actor like Russia. But they don’t appear to provide any association with Russia. They are probably used by a wide range of other malicious actors, especially the 15% of IP addresses that are Tor exit nodes.

The malware sample is old, widely used and appears to be UKRAINIAN [emphasis added by the Russia Analyst, remember that John Podesta got spearphished by someone using the KyivStar IP domain in Ukraine? No? Because the MSM doesn’t emphasis it, their special Ukrainian snowflakes didnahacknuffin for credit card/identity theft or other motives - JWS] . It has no apparent relationship with Russian intelligence and it would be an indicator of compromise for any website.


There is your “Russian hack” the DHS and FBI claim hit the DNC servers and WaPo falsely claimed hit the U.S. electricity grid. A run-of-the-mill hack through freely available servers with old Ukrainian malware just like the hundred-thousand others that happen each day.

— http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/12/fbi-dhs-wapo-falsely-claim-russian-hacks-for-use-of-old-ukrainian-malware-used.html

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump says that “no computer is safe” when it comes to keeping information private, expressing new skepticism about the security of online communications his administration is likely to use for everything from day-to-day planning to international relations.

Trump rarely uses email or computers despite his frequent tweeting.

”You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way. Because I’ll tell you what: No computer is safe,” Trump told reporters during his annual New Year’s Eve bash. “I don’t care what they say.”

Trump has repeatedly cast aside allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia tried to influence the presidential election through hacking. President Barack Obama earlier this week ordered sanctions on Russian spy agencies, closed two Russian compounds and expelled 35 diplomats the U.S. said were really spies. The Russian government has denied the allegations.

Trump, who has said that he plans to meet with intelligence officials next to week to learn more about the allegations, said he wants U.S. officials “to be sure because it’s a pretty serious charge.” He pointed to intelligence failures over the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S. invasion, and declared himself an expert in the area.

”I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove, so it could be somebody else,” he said.

He added, cryptically, that he also knows “things that other people don’t know. And so they cannot be sure of the situation.”

Trump made the comments during his annual New Year’s Eve bash at his Mar-a-Lago club.

— https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-sends-wishes-even-many-enemies-142118738--election.html