Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Book Review: The Plot to Hack America

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Internet Safety for kids
With a degree in curriculum and technology (M.Ed.), I was quite curious about the process of cyberwarfare. It goes beyond typosquat sites, phishing attacks, image theft, theft of intellectual property, and computer viruses. These are all things regular internet users should understand. I gave a warning to a blogger who posted photos of children on her blog, without the permission of the parents, and she has since unfollowed me. We can put our heads in the sand, and take risks, or learn more. (See below the review.)

I forget where we got this book. Perhaps JB bought it. He passed it on to me to read.

 Anyway, this book is a good read, it lags a bit in the end, but it sets up the process, the means by which they entrap human beings, AKA using kompromat (see below). It talks about the Trump's activities in Russia, and his buddies who have since been indicted (Papadopolous, Flynn, Manafort, Gates, et al).

The author, Malcolm Nance, is an international expert on counterterrorism intelligence. The end notes cite a number of online sources, which provide further reading.  Nance also covers the background of Putin as a KGB spy, and the Russians who hacked into the DNC computer system in March and April, 2016, prior to the US 2016 election.

The book uncovers the early Trump activities, recently uncovered by the Mueller probe, during which time the Russians followed Trump to seek out compromising information. The rumours are that Trump and Kushner were money laundering for the Russians. We shall see what happens.
CNN reports

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@Barrie Summy

For those who want some more information, or would rather not read the whole book...

Watergate 2.0

The facts were widely reported, the book explains exactly how they found the Russians out.

Not only that, but in the computer code the hackers wrote they left markers which identified them, and allowed Crowdstrike to determine the penetration into the DNC servers. They uncovered the strategies of the Democrats, and opened them up to the Republicans in order to get Trump elected. 


Russians spies, AKA KGB (now the FSB), recruited assets. They created 'honeytraps' to suck in victims in Europe, young soldiers, sailors, or marines, through their entrapments. Russians have "perfected political warfare by using cyber assets to personally attack and neutralize political opponents." They either reveal information, or manufacture false data, to create scandal. 
With the help of Julian Assange, they published information meant to confound the election, managing to elect Trump by spreading lies and information to voters. They interfered with Obama and and McCain's 2008 campaigns in 2008, but not to this extent. 

The Russians, as Guccifer 2.0,  dug up files of donors, stealing personal emails, digital voice mail, bank account numbers, credit card and social security numbers. They uncovered travel plans, and campaign plans. 

Computer hacking

What they then did, was to go to their emails and managed to send out phishing email, whereby someone clicks, enters their passwords, and through a typosquat site then gain the user name and passwords enabling the Russians to gain access to private information. (This is something I have written and lectured about to students, parents, and teachers.) They used their Russian media to attack Hilary Clinton, due to their dislike of her hard-line position against Russia during her tenure as Secretary of State. They figured Trump was easily controlled with whatever they have on him.

Phases of Operation Lucky-7

1. Make contact, befriend and encourage the asset
2. Make the asset feel indebted to Russia
3. Conduct covert cyber-intelligence
4. Prepare the political battlespace
5. Develop and sustain supporting political propaganda
6. Fund and manipulate the asset to disperse kompromat information
7. Execute kompromat operations

Why should we care? 

Russia has a scary government. Putin is a trained spy. Russia has a long history of deadly activities.

Former Russian spy hospitalized in the U.K.

Monday March 05, 2018

VIDEO Former Russian spy hospitalized in the U.K.

A Russian who once spied for the U.K. has reportedly been hospitalized after exposure to an "unknown substance." Sergei Skripal, 66, was convicted of treason in 2006 in a Moscow military court and is now, according to British media, in critical condition in a Salisbury hospital. Officials are saying little, but parallels are being drawn between this case and that of Alexander Litvinenko, another former Russian spy turned MI-6 informant who was killed in 2006 with radioactive polonium

Russian Trolls

Former Russian trolls expose misinformation operations

Monday March 05, 2018

VIDEO Former Russian trolls expose misinformation operations

Former employees of a Russian 'troll factory' are speaking out about the political misinformation operations they participated in. While the men CBC News spoke to stopped their work before the 2016 U.S. election began, they confirm that their roles were the same — target politics within and beyond Russia's borders and spread misinformation


Lucy said...

Another great review. Thanks for reviewing.

Olga said...

This is very scary stuff!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think this would just make me too upset. But thanks for doing such a great job in laying it all out.

Linda McLaughlin said...

I haven't had a chance to read this book yet, but I want to. I did hear that the code found in the DNC hack had Cyrillic characters in it which was a dead giveaway that Russians were involved. I do enjoy listening to Malcolm Nance on TV. He's very knowledgeable.

Thanks for the great review.

Cloudia said...

So glad we are finally getting on to this! Thanks

Red said...

Good on you for slogging through this stuff, Sad to admit that this old boy is not computer literate enough to deal with these challenges.

William Kendall said...

Thanks for pointing this one out.

The money laundering angle would not surprise me. At this point, nothing will surprise me.

Barrie said...

Interesting and scary. I'm with William Kendall (the commenter above me)...At this point, nothing will surprise me. Thank you for reviewing!