Date: December 16, 2011
Abstract: Expect hackers to try to disgrace presidential candidates with electronic extortion and other forms of digital deception during the upcoming primaries, say some former hackers and computer security specialists.
The surge in social networking has coincided with the rise of social engineering, or tricking a computer user into revealing personal data -- perhaps the answer to a password recovery question -- by posing as a trusted acquaintance. Hacker collectives Anonymous and LulzSec, and presumably China, have exploited this tactic, and other online gambits, to filch law enforcement authorities' personal data, and to gain access to the Gmail accounts of senior federal officials and military email addresses.
Now, perpetrators with a variety of motives are likely to apply the technique for infiltrating campaign email accounts, publishing falsehoods that go viral or knocking out candidate websites with denial-of-service attacks that inundate them with useless traffic, say cybersecurity experts.
"There's a pretty high probability of shenanigans," said Jennifer Emick, a security consultant who shed her affiliation with Anonymous after growing concerned about stunts she said verge on criminal. "With all the social networking -- they call it open source intelligence -- you can impersonate people the targets know on Facebook and have access to photos or personal information."
Some individuals apparently have attempted to pay hackers to shutdown sites that cast shadows over their favored candidate.
According to a 2011 chat room log obtained by Nextgov, one Internet user nicknamed "M" entered the room - a meeting place for hackers -- and asked if a member named "Jester" was "helping out with Rick Santorum's problem." The Jester is a prominent hacker known for attacking pro-jihad sites. M, an apparent supporter of former Pennsylvania senator and current GOP presidential candidate Santorum, then explained that "Jester is generally targeting liberal sites so I thought he might be in on this."
A chat room member clarified for M that The Jester typically attacks extremist sites. M replied that "this is an extremist gay site" -- likely a reference to SpreadingSantorum.com, a satirical, widely-visited site created by a gay columnist in retaliation against the conservative politician's arguably anti-homosexual views. After several in the room reiterated that M was looking in the wrong forum, the individual signed off.
Santorum's campaign staff did not respond to a request for comment.
Emick priced a job like taking out that site at $1,000 to $2,000, due to the risk and hour or two of work involved - enough for a hacker to pay rent for a couple of months, she said.
Other hackers have their own political leanings, as evidenced by a college student who in 2008 commandeered then vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's personal Yahoo! mailbox reportedly to find content that could undermine her campaign. According to federal prosecutors, David C. Kernell reset Palin's account password by accurately guessing the answers to her security questions, read her messages and then posted screenshots of the emails online.
"We had Watergate 40 years ago, but maybe today the therapists' email would simply be hacked, or the computer where they stored all of their clients' records would be hacked into," said Jack Lerner, a technology law professor at the University of Southern California.
This election season, "I don't think it is beyond the realm of possibility that hackers could execute denial-of-service attacks to disrupt a campaign's online operations, or, say, break into campaign email accounts to spread disinformation or damaging information about the candidate or the candidate's opponent -- if that kind of thing hasn't happened already," he added.
A glance through the biographical information in publicly available social network profiles can provide clues to a person's password recovery answers, experts point out. "And yet people still do dumb things: they give honest answers to security questions," Emick said. Chris K. Ridder, a San Francisco-based attorney and former resident fellow at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, said, "People might want to think more about their password reset questions. You don't put the real name of your cat in there, if you're going to find that on Facebook."
Elsewhere in the world, oppressive governments might be manipulating the Web to influence voting outcomes, as was probably the case in Russia where alleged Kremlin-sponsored denial of service attacks interfered with independent news and election monitoring websites.
Unlike government agencies, some campaign groups do not have the resources or know-how to prepare for data breaches. "Training your people to resist social engineering is a really good investment," Ridder said. "All you need is one person who is convinced by whoever is requesting the personal information."
Once information is compromised, it can be difficult to identify intruders, let alone prosecute them. Only a handful of hacktivists have been arrested and some culprits are not afraid of going to jail, said a former federal official who asked to remain anonymous. For every one or two criminals the government is catching, there are probably dozens slipping through the cracks, he said.
"In any cat and mouse game you're going to be playing a little bit of catch-up," former Justice Department computer crime investigator Mark Rasch said. "You can't just throw technology at the problem. You can't just say we need more people . . . you have to think like a hacker."
Nathan J. Hochman, a former assistant attorney general for Justice's tax division, said, "the fact that someone can get punished six months later might not be a deterrent when they can disrupt an election." Hochman, now partner at law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP, suggested campaign organizers devise a plan for how they will notify supporters and volunteers if there is a data breach or a viral spread of disinformation.
Campaign officials for Republican presidential front-runners Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, as well as President Obama, did not respond to inquiries. The deputy press secretary for Texas governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry said, "We don't discuss our internal security procedures."
"If I was running for president, I would delete my Gmail account," Ridder said (NextGov, 2011).
Date: October 5, 2012
Abstract: They’ll train you so good, you’ll start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh-t. – Frank Marshall Davis to Barack Obama, “Dreams from My Father” (1995)
I pledge myself to rally the masses to defend the Soviet Union, the land of victorious socialism. I pledge myself to remain at all times a vigilant and firm defender of the Leninist line of the Party, the only line that ensures the triumph of Soviet Power in the United States. – American Communist Party’s oath of allegiance, 1935
The quote by Frank Marshall Davis is an example of the anti-American poison pumped into Obama’s head three times a week from ages 9-18 according to Dr. Paul Kengor’s new book, “The Communist Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack’s Obama’s Mentor.” Movie maker, Joel Gilbert, who directed the new film, “Dreams from My Real Father,” wrote, “At age 18, Barack Obama admittedly arrived at Occidental College a committed revolutionary Marxist.” To date Obama has never publicly recanted any of the Marxist ideology Frank Marshall Davis and many others have indoctrinated him with.
Did the communist propaganda with which Obama was indoctrinated from his youth become his worldview as an adult man? As president of the United States? Let’s hear the words of President Obama recorded on an open mic with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev when they both attended a Nuclear Arms Treaty Conference in Seoul, South Korea, on March 26, 2012. Here is an excerpt from their secret conversation where Obama is essentially committing treason against his own country:
Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space.”
Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”
Obama: “This is my last election. After my election [Nov. 6, 2012] I’ll have more flexibility.”
Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin]
(N.B.: Putin is a ranking career communist KGB Agent who recently and openly stole the Russian election to succeed Medvedev on May 7 after first preceding him from 1999-2008).
Communist Party USA, or CPUSA, is a Marxist political party in the United States, established in 1919. It has an extensive complex history that is directly connected to the histories of related communist parties worldwide and the U.S. labor union movement. CPUSA was established by the Soviet Kremlin within just two years of Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution with the mandate of destroying American capitalism, private property and Christianity while infiltrating all of its institutions – churches via social justice, Marxist “liberation theology” and embracing the socialist policies of FDR’s and LBJ’s welfare state. CPUSA has infiltrated Congress, the courts, the media, economics, education, the academy, culture, society with communist propaganda with the ultimate goal of the Soviet communists using the Democrat Socialist Party as a major vehicle to transform the United States of America (USA) into the United Socialist States of America (USSA).
Has CPUSA achieved its evil intent? Progressives and liberal intellectuals, especially since the 1920s, have deceived Americans to sell their souls for socialism, to become faceless cogs in the Leviathan machine, or as Lenin referred to the proletariat as “useful idiots.” During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly and plainly told us what his plans were: “I want to fundamentally transform America.” Translation: During my presidential terms in office, I will transform America into a unified socialist state.
This is what Gilbert means by “Dreams from [Obama’s] Real Father.” Davis was a CPUSA member (#47544) and hated America with a passion. He worked for more than 60 years during his journalist career trying to make America an atheistic, communist nation. Kengor pointed out that when Davis launched the communist Chicago Star newspaper in 1946 he called for a “new Declaration of Independence” in his first column. Davis wrote that history teaches, referring to the Marxist dialectic, that “any fundamental change advancing society is spearheaded by strong radicals.”
“It’s mindboggling,” Kengor held of Obama’s use of Davis’ language and idioms. “You can’t make this stuff up.”
Remember Lenin’s words: “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Has CPUSA’s 93-year-old communist indoctrination program become a fait accompli in America under the Marxist, socialist policies of President Obama? With Democrats and Republicans both fighting each other to maintain FDR and LBJ’s welfare state even if it bankrupts America and destroys the Constitution, then it is evident the answer is yes!
Regardless of the outcome of the election – even if he loses – Obama will have 80 days from Nov. 6, 2012, to Jan. 19, 2013, to fulfill his treacherous promise to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is still an active KGB communist agent, to deliver America’s allies like Israel, Poland and the Czech Republic to Russia on a silver platter.
Declassified FBI files defined CPUSA campaigns as “concentrated, continuous and concerted succession of agitation and propaganda activities specifically devised and timed to sway public opinion. All communist campaigns are intended to arouse, influence and mobilize as many people as possible to further communist goals.” Those goals, naturally, included the promotion of the “welfare of the Soviet Union.” For American communists, the end-goal was always a “Soviet America,” or, as the 1930s CPUSA loyalty oath put it, “to ensure the triumph of Soviet Power in the United States.”
The chief target audience in these campaigns was naive liberals/progressives who comprise the Democrat Socialist Party that communists believed could be deceived. These useful idiots were indispensable to success “to ensure the triumph of Soviet Power in the United States.” If the CPUSA campaigns organized only the support of communists, they would be transparent and would fail under public exposure.
Look at the perpetual circle of corruption by the Democrat Socialist Party where Obama habitually ignores the Constitution and, through his union scams (TARP, QE1, QE2, the GM and Chrysler bailouts ) to secure pension funds for votes and green energy scams (Solyndra and dozens of other now defunct fake companies), illegally gave billions to bogus companies and communist front groups like ACORN, minority activist groups (like the NAACP, i.e., the National Association for the Assassination of Colored People) and the unions that kick back hundreds of millions into Obama’s re-elections coffers. It’s all a vast, evil conspiracy directed to institute a Marxist CPUSA agenda, to at all costs ensure the triumph of Soviet power in the United States.Let all Americans of good will work assiduously to save our country from socialism before Nov. 6, before Obama steals a second term. If he does, it will become like Putin’s Russia – America’s last “election” (WND, 2012).
Title: WikiLeaks To Begin Election-Related Dump
Date: October 11, 2012
Abstract: According to a release Wednesday, WikiLeaks will begin publishing 200,000 files relating to the presidential election. The GI (Global Intelligence) files are emails obtained through a hack on private intelligence firm Stratfor, which were leaked to WikiLeaks by Anonymous. The release states:
These GI Files releases will shed insight into key U.S. federal election players… Through this release WikiLeaks aims to inform the U.S. electorate in an unbiased way through the release of source documents from one of the most oddly influential companies in the U.S. today.
WikiLeaks notes that Statfor, “a secretive multi-national private intelligence firm, providing services to large corporations, and government agencies” has a revolving door with government offices and thus the leaked emails could be a source of important information on both Democrats and Republicans in this election. Wednesday marks the beginning of the document dump, so it may take some time before any dirt is dug up (if there is dirt to find).“We call upon all people around the world to search the emails and publicize their findings using the hashtag #wlfindGI,” the WikiLeaks statement noted, before prodding readers for a donation to the organization (Salon, 2012).
Reality Check: The Facts Behind Whether Hamilton Co. Voting Machines Can Be
Date: October 26, 2012
Source: Fox 19 (Video)
Abstract: With the 2012 election just 12 days away, all eyes are on Ohio.
With the heightened attention of the buckeye state also come heightened concerns of election fraud.
And in no place is that concern higher than in our own Hamilton County.Ben investigates the facts behind Hamilton county's electronic voting machines and whether they can be hacked in a Reality Check you won't see anywhere else (Fox 19, 2012).
Title: Cyberattacks Hit Iran's Gmail Users
As Election Begins
Date: June 14, 2013
Source: CNN Money
Abstract: In the lead-up to Iran's presidential elections, which kicked off Friday, tens of thousands of Iranians fell victim to a series of targeted cyberattacks on their Gmail accounts.
Google has detected a significant jump in phishing activity in the region during the past three weeks. The messages appear to be sent from Google and provide a link where users can make changes to their account settings. If the user clicks on the link, they are presented with a fake Google sign-in page where the hacker can steal victims' usernames and passwords.
This phishing campaign does not appear to place any malware on the victims' systems or employ any sophisticated tactics. The search giant has also been able to disrupt a number of the email scams.
But it doesn't take much -- attackers could have unlocked a trove of information from their victims, accessing all of their emails, Google documents and Google chats.
"Gmail credentials are the keys to the kingdom," said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior researcher at Kaspersky Labs.
The scam emails have been sent to tens of thousands of Iranian Google users and Schouwenberg said this number is "very substantial" for a targeted campaign like this one.
During election season,Iran has a history of censoring certain websites, such as Google, Facebook (FB) and Twitter. The country has also completely cut off its citizens' access to the Internet at times.
But security researchers note that obtaining data through phishing scams can sometimes be more useful than completely shutting off the flow of information."Keeping communication open and eavesdropping on that kind of communication is often preferred," Schouwenberg said (CNN Money, 2013).