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Enlarge / Georgia politician Brian Kemp reads at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in the state. (credit: Georgia.gov)

Accusations that the US Department of Homeland security tried to hack Georgia's voter registration database are running rampant. But until officials from that state's Secretary of State office provide basic details, people should remain highly skeptical.

The controversy erupted after Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp sent and publicly released a letter addressed to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. In it, Kemp made a series of statements so vague in their technical detail that it's impossible to conclude any kind of hacking or breach—at least as those terms are used by security professionals—took place.

"On November 15, 2016, an IP address associated with the Department of Homeland Security made an unsuccessful attempt to penetrate the Georgia Secretary of State's firewall," Kemp wrote. "I am writing you to ask whether DHS was aware of this attempt and, if so, why DHS was attempting to breach our firewall."

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(credit: Tom Lohdan)

At an event today hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, White House terrorism and homeland security advisor Lisa Monaco announced that President Barack Obama had ordered a "full review" of the campaign of cyber-attacks against the Democratic Party, the campaign organization of Hillary Clinton, and other politicians and state election officials' websites during the 2016 presidential campaign. Monaco said that the results of the review would be released to Congress before President Obama left office.

"The president has directed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process," Monaco said, "and to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders, to include the Congress."

The announcement comes after a call from both Republicans and Democrats on December 7. At a Heritage Foundation event on Wednesday, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, (R-Texas) called for "consequences" for Russia's interference in the election. “If we don’t respond and show them that there are consequences," he said, "the bad behavior will continue… our democracy itself is being targeted.”

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Shortly after Miraiwas attributed to massive DDOS on OVH and Brian Krebsthe source code for Mirai was released on Github. This was a double edged sword. It gave security researchers insight into the code, but it also made it more available to those who may want to use it for nefarious purposes. Within days Mirai variants were detected. Now chinese researchers Network Security Research Labsare reporting that recent samples of Miraihave a domain generation algorithm (DGA) feature. The DGA is somewhat limited in that it will only generate one domain per day, so a total of 365 total domains are possible and they are all in the .techor .support TLDs. " />

Definitely something to have your Intrusion Detection and DNS sensors watch for.

Thedetailed analysis of the malware sample is a fun read...if you are into such things.

-- Rick Wanner MSISE - rwanner at isc dot sans dot edu - http://namedeplume.blogspot.com/ - Twitter:namedeplume (Protected)

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
 
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Enlarge / The bear is back. It never went away.

US intelligence agencies have been forthright in their insistence that the Russian government was behind not only the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political organizations in the US, but a concerted effort to undermine confidence in the results of the US presidential election, including attacks on state election officials' systems. But the US is not the only country that the Russian government has apparently targeted for these sorts of operations—and the methods used in the DNC hack are being applied increasingly in attempts to influence German politics, Germany's chief of domestic intelligence warned yesterday.

In a press release issued on December 8, Germany's Bundesamt für Verfassungsshutz (BfV), the country's domestic intelligence agency, warned of an ever-mounting wave of disinformation and hacking campaigns by Russia focused on increasing the strength of "extremist groups and parties" in Germany and destabilizing the German government. In addition to propaganda and disinformation campaigns launched through social media, the BfV noted an increased number of "spear phishing attacks against German political parties and parliamentary groups" using the same sort of malware used against the Democratic National Committee in the US.

The statement from the BfV came on the same day that Alex Younger, the chief of the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) made more veiled references to disinformation and hacking campaigns. In remarks Younger delivered at Vauxhall Cross, MI6 headquarters, he warned of the mounting risks posed by "hybrid warfare."

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(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
 
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