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15 Jun, 2016 15:05

Russian spies again? DNC says Russian hackers breached its files

Russian spies again? DNC says Russian hackers breached its files

If someone broke into the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) highly protected server and had access for a year picking and choosing files - that is a security failure, says former State Department official Peter Mark Van Buren.

The Democratic National Committee has accused the Russian government of hacking its entire research database on Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump. The Kremlin has dismissed the accusations and claims the alleged leaks were most likely caused by the DNC's own security failures.

"I completely rule out the possibility that the (Russian) government or government bodies have been involved in this," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, told Reuters in Moscow.

When RT’s Gayane Chichakyan asked the US State Department’s spokesperson to comment on the story that answer was “I would refer you to the DNC for comment on this.”

“I’m not going to get into a law enforcement issue here, particularly one where I’m not steeped on the details. The US Government is the subject of countless cyber intrusions and attacks every day from all kinds of places…” John Kirby told the daily press briefing.

RT: How is the Democratic National Committee so sure it is the Russian government behind the data breach? How strong are the accusations?

Peter Mark Van Buren: That is a very serious question and a very serious accusation. Hackers go out of their way to disguise themselves and people working for a foreign government would take every step that was literally possible to avoid tagging themselves to that government. You change a hacking incident into an international diplomatic incident by that way. In addition you’ve got the concept of false flag.  In other words, if government A was actually doing the work, they would leave clues that it was really government B that did it in order to throw the American investigators off the track. It makes better sense that one of America’s so-called adversaries is blamed for this than someone else.  

RT: Russia denies the claims saying that it's always easier to blame an enemy than to admit their own security failures. How likely is that?

PMVB: Certainly the security failures are black and white. Someone broke into this server that should have been highly protected and apparently stayed there for a year picking and choosing among the files. If that is not a security failure then those words have no meaning. It makes sense if you’re the people responsible for the failure to claim that you were facing off against the best of the best. When you’re doing that you’re talking about national level intrusions: the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Israelis, whatever. You certainly don’t want to admit that it was some lower level crime syndicate, who got through your defenses.

RT: Party committee officials say hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year. How often do they conduct a security check? Once a year seems pretty rare.

PMVB: Absolutely, there are a couple of things going on. First of all, if the system administrator had any skills whatsoever, he or she would be checking constantly.  It is an ongoing process – you never let it up. There are electronic checks, physical checks. We can assume that they’ve been doing something along those lines. And that does point to extremely sophisticated intruders. People who knew how to cover their tracks; people who knew how to make it look like it weren’t there, and that certainly leans toward a government type intrusion, because governments have the money, the expertise, the technology to work at that kind of a level. That’s it. There is nothing that particularly means these are exclusive to governments. Obviously criminal organizations knowing how much valuable information is there may in fact have the resources to do the job as well.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.