Russian Officials Deny Cyber Warfare – Everybody Does It
nsnbc : Russia’s Ministry of Communications, on Tuesday, denied any knowledge of a Russian “cyber corps” carrying out attacks on foreign computer systems. Deputy Communications Minister Alexey Volin said his department played no part in financing cyber-warfare and “knew of no such agency.”
But then again, does Volin have “a need to know”? The Head of the Russian Federatiion Council Committee on Defense and Security, Viktor Ozerov, would be more likely to have “a need to know” but earlier he also denied that a cyber-warfare division even existed within the Russian Armed Forces. “We do not interfere in any information system in peacetime, be it military or civilian,” he said, adding that Russia only has the task of protecting its own information systems.
Others would point out that a recent recruitment drive by the Russian military for specialized “science companies,” asking potential recruits with programming knowledge to apply could “suggest” that Russia has a cyber-toll force anyway. Even some Russian sites like Meduza suggest in reports that Russian security services are actively involved in cyber warfare.
One of Russia’s top cyber-security companies, Zecurion Analytics, released a report on Tuesday claiming that 1,000 people were employed by Russia’s cyber corps, with an estimated budget of $300 million. The report, however, also maintains that the United States has remained the world’s strongest cyberpower, with experts estimating that as many as 9,000 hackers may be working for a state-funded cyber warfare corps.
Moscow has repeatedly been accused of orchestrating the leak of some 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), in a scandal which led to the resignation of DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz. However, at least the “unclassified” report issued by S intelligence services does not provide conclusive evidence. The Kremlin has called the accusations “absurd” and denies any involvement.
The reports made publicly available by US intelligence services don’t contain actual, tangible evidence. Some apologists would say that intelligence services would not reveal information that could reveal their methodology and sources. Other point out that more and more credible evidence could have been released without endangering the operational capabilities of the involved services. nsnbc editor-in-chief Christof Lehmann commented over the phone Tuesday morning, saying:
“Cyber warfare is a little bit like Cocaine dealing in Colombia. Everybody does it, everybody denies it and points the fingers at others, and nobody likes to get busted. The issue with cyber warfare is that evidence is mostly circumstantial, and nobody wants to give away evidence that gives away means and methods. Anyone who believes hat any even reasonably developed nation isn’t involved in cyber and information warfare better wake up and smell the coffee.”
Lehmann noted Russian as well as US and British intelligence services actively conducted cyber espionage in Germany. The main focus is on industrial espionage, and Germany is not exactly innocent either. What is more disturbing, added Lehmann, is that influencing elections has become the new “normal”. He pointed at his article from 2013 entitled “Leaked EU Report; EU to spend Millions, monitoring and targeting critical Media, Journalists and Social Media”.
In March 2013, a leaked, secret EU report revealed that the European Commission planned to use millions of euro on a massive manipulation campaign up to the 2014 elections. The document revealed that the manipulation plans included the fining of media for “incorrect” reporting, forcing media to publish retractions or corrections, and denying EU critical journalists and media access.
Other measures, which the un-elected EU Commissioners planned to include, were the monitoring of EU critical voices in social media and infiltration of social media by “trolls”. The report was largely ignored by other media than The Telegraph and nsnbc international.
F/AK & CH/ L 10.01.2017