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Government Security United States

Dutch Intelligence Agents Watched Russia Hack the DNC (volkskrant.nl) 358

Long-time Slashdot readers Agilulf, Sara Chan, and wiredmikey -- plus an anonymous reader -- all submitted the same story. Agilulf writes: Dutch hackers from AIVD (their intelligence agency) infiltrated Russian hackers, had access to their CCTV system, and followed them for more than a year, watched their attack on the DNC, provided the proof to the U.S. intelligence community that Russia was behind those hacks and the stolen emails, and were disappointed with the response from the U.S.
The Dutch agents also watched Russian agents breach a non-classified network at the U.S. State Department in 2014, where the Russians then sent a phishing email to the White House, successfully stole login credentials, and then accessed email from embassies and diplomats.

"Three American intelligence services state with 'high confidence' that the Kremlin was behind the attack on the Democratic Party," according to the article, which adds that that certainty "is derived from the AIVD hackers having had access to the office-like space in the center of Moscow for years."
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Dutch Intelligence Agents Watched Russia Hack the DNC

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  • Stolen email (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @04:41AM (#56018869)

    So the emails were real. Not fake.

    • You get it wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      All you can know is that some email were stolen. NOTHING tells you that the email which were found later correspond to those stolen. And since most of that stuff is not encrypted, it is *trivial* to add fake stuff in it. There is no chain of custody. Any leaker stuff which is not covered by an encryption key in a separate place is *suspect*.

      I also note that from all what is said,m all the hacking, all you retained "the email were [possibly] not fake" I can only say , i am betting you are one of those ultr
    • The emails were real, but edited. The line Trump quoted during his run for president was cut and pasted into the email using a Russian language version of microsoft office. The actual line was a quote from a Russian propaganda website. https://www.npr.org/2016/10/11... [npr.org]
    • "So the emails were real. Not fake."

      No they were not fake, but it suited some political purpose to say so, besides which, that was last years bullshit :]
    • And there was nothing significant in them anyway -- the Democrats said so themselves.

  • And? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 28, 2018 @04:42AM (#56018871)

    Does this change anything about the undisputed authenticity of the emails we saw? No.

    I want to say "I hope the DNC has learned a valuable lesson about email and network security," but that would imply I think the DNC is capable of learning from their mistakes.

    • It would require them to remove USB ports so that the leaker could not have copied the emails onto a USB drive and sent it to Wikileaks.

    • Does this change anything about the undisputed authenticity of the emails we saw? No.

      I want to say "I hope the DNC has learned a valuable lesson about email and network security," but that would imply I think the DNC is capable of learning from their mistakes.

      So if no one ever disputed the authenticity of the emails then why are you now trying to change the topic to the authenticity of the emails?

  • that certainty "is derived from the AIVD hackers having had access to the office-like space in the center of Moscow for years."

    Or maybe the hackers used social engineering to convince the landlords that they worked for the Kremlin. Or freelance and sometimes work for the Kremlin, but not always. Or the office space isn't in fact always only for groups working for the Kremlin.

    Personally I'm ambivalent about this entire situation, but dislike how everyone seems to be jumping to one conclusion or another.

  • The Dutch are rather liberal so of course anything they say can't really be trusted.

  • Referendum (Score:5, Informative)

    by Njovich ( 553857 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @05:32AM (#56018991)

    There is a referendum upcoming in the Netherlands about massively expanding what the intelligence agencies are allowed to do. Any information about Dutch intelligence in the coming months should be viewed in that light. The government is trying to paint them in as positive light as possible. Given that nothing they say can be verified, be careful what you believe.

    • Re: Referendum (Score:5, Insightful)

      by longk ( 2637033 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @05:38AM (#56019015)

      As a Dutch person myself, I'm quite sure this is mostly (if not completely) propaganda. The original story provides 0 proof of anything and shows several inconsistencies.

      • Re: Referendum (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @07:36AM (#56019313) Journal
        As another Dutchman, I believe this story is true and is being used as propaganda. I'm not a big believer in conspiracy theories about made up "narratives" involving several security agencies in such a high profile case. The story is plausible. I do however think that the timing of this news, in light of the upcoming referendum, is extremely suspicious. The prime minister has already pointed out that the results from this hack show precisely why the government needs wider powers to tap electronic communications.
        • The Volkskrant newspaper claims to have been working on this scoop for seven months to verify that the leaked information was genuine; they found 15 people willing to talk. Also, the newspaper has more information than what they publish. If anything, the newspaper chose to publish it before the referendum.

      • As a Dutch person myself, I'm quite sure this is mostly (if not completely) propaganda. The original story provides 0 proof of anything and shows several inconsistencies.

        Here's a thought, how about you either enlighten us about the nature of these inconsistencies or stop making nebulous accusations?

      • Re: Referendum (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Xenna ( 37238 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @08:52AM (#56019527)

        I'm Dutch too, and I share your disbelief. First of all, I distrust most media reports on hacking, since I think they don't understand most of it.

        Second, I think a 'secret service' type of organization keeps its methods secret as much as possible. In this case they seem all to eager to broadcast their achievements.

    • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

      Confirm this is true. The AIVD has a bit of a reputation of publishing dossiers to serve political ends.

      On the other hand, they do have decent counterintelligence operatives, so after taking the bias into account do take this seriously.

    • To be more precise, the Dutch government wants to enshrine in law what is already common practice anyway: Dutch citizens being spied upon without a warrant by their own government.

      And consider this: which government would voluntarily give up such a massive advantage that spying on the Russians might bring? Whatever technique they were using, you can rest assured the Russians will find it and close it now (assuming it existed of course).

      And on top of that... They didn't even warn the Americans of what was ap

      • by Teun ( 17872 )
        On your first sentence, please give some links with proof or at least plausible explanation.
        BR> On your third sentence, why don't you read the article? It was the American reaction to the information they found disappointing. (broadcasting that 'Western Intelligence' had hacked a camera in Moscow )
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This story is tagged "orsotheysay", and every time any story about Russian hacking is posted there are a lot of people questioning if it had any effect on the election and trying to dismiss it as a conspiracy theory. Stories about Russian activities on social media are the same, questioning if they had any influence at all.

      Some of the accounts doing this are obvious Russia trolls. ACs, young accounts with few posts etc. Some are established but with a long history of supporting Trump by dismissing anything

      • by Njovich ( 553857 )

        You responded to me, are you saying I'm a Trump supporter or Russian troll?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Neither, just commenting on the way doubt is seeded on these stories. You are probably right, the timing is likely due to the referendum, but that of course doesn't meant it isn't true. There is plenty of corroborating evidence in this case.

          • by Njovich ( 553857 )

            Ah right, yes I agree completely. I have some personal doubts about the story in the part about how the details were leaked to the media, but I don't really doubt the story about the hack itself.

  • by HuskyDog ( 143220 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @05:34AM (#56019001) Homepage
    How does anyone know whether to believe any of this stuff any longer?

    It seems to be that all these "cyber espionage" stories consist of impossible to verify leaks (intentional or otherwise) about other impossible to verify leaks. I guess it probably is true that some emails were leaked by someone, but after that everything could be no more true than the contents of a John le Carré novel and the latter would be a better read!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Cosy Bear, the group involved here, is well documented by multiple parties in multiple countries. Several anti-virus/security vendors have identified their malware and examined it in detail including Kaspersky (!), Symantec and F-Secure. So Russian, Finnish and American companies all reaching the same conclusions. Multiple law enforcement and security services have detected their attacks too.

      At this point their existence and activities are not really in question. They are known to attack politicians in othe

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "How does anyone know whether to believe any of this stuff any longer? "
      If it was an operation ability in Russian or near Russia and get "results" that would be kept secret for a generation, say 30 to 50 years.
      If the results are in the Western media in real time, its a story.
      No NATO, UK, US member would give up its covert ability to work in and around Russia to any media group about a fluke.
      Even the sub and over flight of the Soviet Union in the 1950's is still not really talked about as it gives
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I agree, we are entering into an era of marginal truth where simultaneous false flag operations and mixed facts/falsehoods make believing anything a marginal proposition.

      Of course the downside of not knowing what to believe means not knowing what to disbelieve, and falsehoods gain the same veracity as truth.

    • Because in this specific case, the DNC *never* denied any of the emails' contents. If there was BS in there, they would have come right out and disputed it, which would have been simple if the leaked contents were fake. But once their dirty laundry was aired for all to see, they adopted the tried and true tactic of "kill the messenger" -- in this case, Russia, Trump, Wikileaks, and anyone else they could remotely blame it on. Why own up to it when you can distract the lemmings by shrieking "RUSSIA" for m
  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @05:42AM (#56019021)

    My favourite part of this story - which I heard retailed with a perfectly straight face by some BBC presenter - is the webcams with the nice view of Red Square. Because all highly secret Russian hackers must, by law, occupy rooms with a view of Red Square. Indeed, they are probably lodged in the Kremlin - just as the NSA has its offices in the White House.

  • Ok so if the US intelligence agencies knew the DNC had been hacked why didn't they do anything about it? Why didn't they tell the DNC there was a hacker in their network?

    Were they worried about the hackers finding out that there was someone watching them and then shutting off that particular source of information? Was there some issue with a government agency sharing information with the operations of a political party during an election?

    The other thing that hasn't been answered is why this happened. Why we

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "had been hacked why didn't they do anything about it? "
      The data walked out with a human, no hack over any network. Just like Pentagon Papers the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      Re "Did Russia stand to gain something by"
      The Soviet Union and Russia had their well placed spies deep in all levels of the US and UK gov. What is the last thing any well placed spy who is safe and advancing up the mil/gov would want?
      Investigations. Questions. FBI, MI5, NSA, GCHQ doing internal spy hunts. A low access
    • Ok so if the US intelligence agencies knew the DNC had been hacked why didn't they do anything about it?

      The coverage has said the FBI and NSA stopped the intrusions once they were notified. The coverage also said the Obama administration was concerned about going public on their own, because it would appear they were only attempting to affect the election.

      The administration attempted to get a bipartisan statement signed by Obama, Ryan and McConnell so as to make it appear less like "we're affecting the election" and more like "there's been a security breach", but McConnell refused.

      The other thing that hasn't been answered is why this happened. Why were the Russians interested in the DNC? Did Russia stand to gain something by influencing the election in a way that caused Hillary and the Democrats to lose?

      1) Trump has declared bankr

  • My favorite quotes:

    Dutch media reported

    according to the respected Volkskrant daily, and a Dutch TV news programme Nieuwsuur.

    citing anonymous US and Dutch sources.

    A spokeswoman for the AIVD refused to confirm the Dutch media reports, telling AFP "we never comment on operations."

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov however dismissed the reports Friday, saying Moscow had "never heard or seen anything about such allegations from the Dutch secret services".

  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Sunday January 28, 2018 @09:22AM (#56019589) Homepage Journal

    I have a very simple, and very pointed question.

    What, exactly, are the hot, Top Secret contents of those emails?

    Remember what the state department does - It has diplomats. They talk. They talk a lot. They have no need of Operationally Secure Information. And while a lot of spying goes on from diplomatic missions, the spy's chain of command does not run through the Department of State, nor do they use email. Think about what the State Department does. Then ask yourself, what kinds of secrets they will be a party to. EG: Who is who's mistress. Which children of what diplomats are doing drugs or other things that can be used against that diplomat. They don't get the nuclear launch codes - they have no need of them. They do not get troop movements, order of battle, or deployment orders. Again, they have no need to know.

    Now, let us turn to the facts of the matter.

    HRC used a private email sever under their control.
    President Trump's daughter and son in law used Yahoo accounts, whose servers are not under their direct control. If you know anything about email systems, then you'll know that any Yahoo engineer could view the contents of those accounts by simply logging in with their credentials.

    Was it wrong for HRC to use a private email server? Yes. Absolutely.
    Was it wrong for others to use Yahoo accounts? Arguably even more stupid than what HRC did.

    Let not your political desires affect your judgement. To put it like my grandmother used to say, if a shirt is dirty, then it's dirty. Don't try to convince yourself a mustard stain is any worse or better than a lobster bisque stain.

    It's still dirty.

  • Slashdot editors: Please leave that kind of waffle to Faux News. What is this neocon waffle doing on slashdot. Notice this is from some ' intelligence agency' the same kind of people that produced the Trump golden shower dossier. The only evidence being produced here is of the deep state manipulating public opinion. I don't believe Dutch hackers bugged Russian hackers, you see the Russian FSB isn't as incompetent as their US counterpart.
  • The MSM has reported so many lies about Trump. There has also been excessive spin, lies by omission, and laughable sensationalism.

    Let's get some names and put people under oath. Let's see some videos.

    BTW: when is a story about Trump "news for nerds?"

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