Russian hackers have been inside the computers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for about a year. The reason we’re finding out about it now is because the FBI only managed to throw them out of the system this past weekend.
According to the Washington Post, which broke the story on Tuesday, the Russians were particularly interested in databases that contained opposition research on Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
However, that wasn’t their only area of interest. The Russian hackers were also able to access all the chat messages and emails on the servers.
Not surprisingly, a Russian Embassy spokesperson denied knowledge of the hacking.
Exactly what the Russians plan to do with this information is uncertain. But the real issue may be the fact that they were able to gain access to the DNC database and remain undetected for so long. And of course, how many other computer systems they may have hacked and might still be inside of undiscovered.
The topic of encryption remains a hot button issue for privacy advocates and the government. US intelligence agencies insist that they need back doors to ‘protect’ Americans from terrorists. But there is no evidence to suggest that it is effective.
A new analysis of terrorism charges in the US found that the NSA’s dragnet domestic surveillance “had no discernible impact” on preventing terrorist acts. Instead, the majority of threats over the last decade were detected by regular old intelligence and law enforcement methods—tips, informants, CIA and FBI ops, routine law enforcement.
It is also possible that the reason the US government doesn’t find terrorist through surveillance is because they’re not necessarily looking for them. The ACLU suggests that domestic spying targets protesters, in hopes of squashing democratic uprisings before they reach their goals of legislative change.
Despite all the spying and hacking that goes on between governments, corporations, and people, cybersecurity experts agree that making computer systems easier for the government to hack through back doors is like opening a Pandora’s box. If the US government can get in, so can other government, and other hackers looking to profit from stealing credit card and banking information, medical records, and other personal information.
So, the next time Sen.’s Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) propose legislation that creates government back doors into encryption, think about what dumb idea that really is. The Russians are already bypassing our data security systems. There’s no reason to make it easier for more hackers to access our data.
Featured image: flickr/Chris Potter
*** Maryann Tobin is the author of “Afterlife: The Journey Of A Dog’s Spirit”
This heartwarming story is told through the eyes of an animal spirit that has been sent back to earth in the body of a small dog. His mission is to help a young woman discover that their destiny’s are more connected to the powers of the Spirit World than either of them ever imagined. If you’ve ever shared your life with a dog or any other pet, you will never look at them the same way again after reading this book. Afterlife: The Journey of a Dog’s Spirit is available now on Amazon.com.