Tag: Cyberwarfare and Defense

Iran Nuclear Program Set Back Months; Bomb Used, Official Says

A fire at Iran’s main nuclear fuel enrichment site caused significant damage, setting back the country’s nuclear program by months, the government acknowledged on Sunday, after initially saying the destruction was minor. A Middle Eastern intelligence official with knowledge of the episode said Israel was responsible for the attack on the Natanz nuclear complex on […]

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Mysterious Explosion and Fire Damage Iranian Nuclear Enrichment Facility

A fire ripped through a building at Iran’s main nuclear-fuel production site early Thursday, causing extensive damage to what appeared to be a factory where the country has boasted of producing a new generation of centrifuges. The United States has repeatedly warned that such machinery could speed Tehran’s path to building nuclear weapons. The Atomic […]

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Trump’s New Russia Problem: Unread Intelligence and Missing Strategy

The intelligence finding that Russia was most likely paying a bounty for the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan has evoked a strange silence from President Trump and his top national security officials. He insists he never saw the intelligence, though it was part of the President’s Daily Brief just days before a peace deal […]

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After Iranian Missile Facility Blows Up, Conspiracy Theories Abound in Tehran

When a major explosion lit the skies on the edge of Tehran last week, the Iranian government was quick to dismiss the episode as a gas explosion at the Parchin military base, which was once the focus of international nuclear inspectors. It turned out that was false: Satellite photographs show the explosion happened at a […]

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Australia Spending Nearly $1 Billion on Cyberdefense as China Tensions Rise

SYDNEY, Australia — Confronting a surge of cyberattacks attributed to the Chinese government, Australia moved to bolster its defenses on Tuesday, promising to recruit at least 500 cyberspies and build on its ability to take the battle overseas. The investment of 1.35 billion Australian dollars ($930 million) over the next decade is the largest the […]

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Russian Criminal Group Finds New Target: Americans Working at Home

A Russian ransomware group whose leaders were indicted by the Justice Department in December is retaliating against the U.S. government, many of America’s largest companies and a major news organization, identifying employees working from home during the pandemic and attempting to get inside their networks with malware intended to cripple their operations. Sophisticated new attacks […]

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Amid Pandemic and Upheaval, New Cyber Risks to the Presidential Election

With the general election less than 150 days away, there are rising concerns that the push for remote voting prompted by the pandemic could open new opportunities to hack the vote — for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, but also others hoping to disrupt, influence or profit from the election. President Trump has repeatedly […]

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Chinese Hackers Target Email Accounts of Biden Campaign Staff, Google Says

WASHINGTON — Chinese hackers are targeting the personal email accounts of campaign staff members working for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Google said on Thursday, while confirming previous reports that Iran has targeted President Trump’s campaign. In disclosing the attempts, Google’s chief of threat analysis, Shane Huntley, who oversees the tracking of state-sponsored, […]

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The Flynn Calls: His Dismissal of Russian Interference and the Kremlin’s Savvy

WASHINGTON — Russian spy services had just carried out a complex campaign to disrupt an American presidential election. But the man who was set to become the White House national security adviser, speaking to Russia’s ambassador, referred to that effort only as “the cyberstuff.” The ambassador suggested that the “very deplorable” sanctions that the United […]

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As Virus Toll Preoccupies U.S., Rivals Test Limits of American Influence

WASHINGTON — With the United States preoccupied by the sobering reality of more than 100,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus, China has pushed in recent weeks to move troops into disputed territory with India, continue aggressive actions in the South China Sea and rewrite the rules of how it will control Hong Kong. At roughly […]

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U.S. Accuses Russian Military Hackers of Attack on Email Servers

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency publicly accused Russian government hackers of targeting email servers around the world in an unusual announcement on Thursday, showing that the agency is becoming more aggressive in calling out Moscow’s action as the presidential election approaches. While the Trump administration has publicly attributed cyberattacks to Russia before — including […]

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Germany Wants E.U. to Sanction Head of Russian Military Intelligence

BERLIN — Germany wants to impose a European travel ban and asset freeze on the head of Russia’s military intelligence agency and several of its spies in response to a 2015 cyberattack on the German Parliament that was traced back to Moscow earlier this month. The government will invoke a European Union sanctions mechanism, created […]

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Kayleigh McEnany Displays One of Trump’s Checks in a Little Too Much Detail

WASHINGTON — It’s a feel-good story that President Trump’s press secretaries have relished over the years: the quarterly announcement of which government agency Mr. Trump has selected to be the lucky recipient of his salary, an easy way to show the president sticking to his 2016 campaign pledge to forgo his $400,000 salary and donate […]

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Senate Approves John Ratcliffe for Top Intelligence Job in Sharply Split Vote

WASHINGTON — A divided Senate voted on Thursday to confirm Representative John Ratcliffe of Texas, a fierce conservative ally of President Trump’s with relatively little intelligence experience, to become the next director of the nation’s spy agencies. Democrats opposed the nomination en masse, but they agreed to dispense with the normal rules and accelerate Mr. […]

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Trump to Withdraw U.S. From ‘Open Skies’ Treaty

President Trump has decided to withdraw from another major arms control accord, according to senior administration officials, and will inform Russia on Friday that the United States is pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, negotiated three decades ago to allow nations to fly over each other’s territory with elaborate sensor equipment to assure they […]

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U.S. to Accuse China of Trying to Hack Vaccine Data, as Virus Redirects Cyberattacks

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security are preparing to issue a warning that China’s most skilled hackers and spies are working to steal American research in the crash effort to develop vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus. The efforts are part of a surge in cybertheft and attacks by nations seeking […]

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Naikon, Group Tied to China’s Military, Deploys Debilitating New Cyberattack Tool

On the morning of Jan. 3, an email was sent from the Indonesian Embassy in Australia to a member of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s staff who worked on health and ecological issues. Attached was a Word document that aroused no immediate suspicions, since the intended recipient knew the supposed sender. The attachment contained an invisible […]

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Senate to Consider Trump’s Pick to Lead Intelligence Agencies

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday will consider the nomination of Representative John Ratcliffe, Republican of Texas, to be the director of national intelligence, its first hearing since the coronavirus pandemic sent its members home a month ago. This time around, Mr. Ratcliffe seems likely to receive a warmer reception, at least from Republican lawmakers […]

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‘I Could Solve Most of Your Problems’: Eric Schmidt’s Pentagon Offensive

In July 2016, Raymond Thomas, a four-star general and head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, hosted a guest: Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google. General Thomas, who served in the 1991 gulf war and deployed many times to Afghanistan, spent the better part of a day showing Mr. Schmidt around Special Operations Command’s headquarters […]

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Republican-Led Review Backs Intelligence Findings on Russian Interference

WASHINGTON — American intelligence officials’ determination that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to assist Donald J. Trump’s candidacy was fundamentally sound and untainted by politics, according to a key Republican-led Senate review released on Tuesday. The findings undercut longstanding allegations by Mr. Trump and his allies that the officials were biased against him. […]

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Facebook, Google and Twitter Struggle to Handle November’s Election

SAN FRANCISCO — The day after the New Hampshire primary last month, Facebook’s security team removed a network of fake accounts that originated in Iran, which had posted divisive partisan messages about the U.S. election inside private Facebook groups. Hours later, the social network learned the campaign of Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire former New […]

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Justice Dept. Moves to Drop Charges Against Russian Firms Filed by Mueller

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department moved on Monday to drop charges against two Russian shell companies accused of financing schemes to interfere in the 2016 election, saying that they were exploiting the case to gain access to sensitive information that Russia could weaponize. The companies, Concord Management and Concord Consulting, were charged in 2018 in […]

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Can Russia Use the Coronavirus to Sow Discord Among Americans?

Close observers of Russian disinformation tactics in electoral interference have two big questions as the 2020 election approaches: How large is the appetite for escalation among Russian intelligence agencies this time around? And where was, and is, S.V.R., Russia’s counterpart to the C.I.A.? The internal competition between Russian spy agencies is fierce, and S.V.R., a […]

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The Rise and Fall of M.B.S.’s Digital Henchman

BEIRUT, Lebanon — In 2012, an amateur hacker and poet with an interest in bitcoin, bots and online video games reached out to Hacking Team, an Italian company that sold software that allowed governments to hack cellphones and other devices. Could the company send experts with “high technical knowledge” to Saudi Arabia to display its […]

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A Botnet Is Taken Down in an Operation by Microsoft, Not the Government

WASHINGTON — Microsoft organized 35 nations on Tuesday to take down one of the world’s largest botnets — malware that secretly seizes control of millions of computers around the globe. It was an unusual disruption of an internet criminal group, because it was carried out by a company, not a government. The action, eight years […]

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Trump Dismisses His Administration’s Briefing on Russian Interference

WASHINGTON — President Trump attacked a leading House Democrat on Tuesday over upcoming classified intelligence briefings by members of his own administration on the issue of election interference, suggesting his political opponents were exaggerating the threat from Russia. Mr. Trump has previously issued derogatory statements about his intelligence chiefs after congressional hearings, but even before […]

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Russia Trying to Stoke U.S. Racial Tensions Before Election, Officials Say

WASHINGTON — The Russian government has stepped up efforts to inflame racial tensions in the United States as part of its bid to influence November’s presidential election, including trying to incite violence by white supremacist groups and to stoke anger among African-Americans, according to seven American officials briefed on recent intelligence. Russia’s lead intelligence agency, […]

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Why Russia Is Rooting for Both Trump and Sanders

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device:Via Apple Podcasts | Via Spotify | Via Stitcher U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that the Russian government is attempting to interfere in the 2020 presidential race — but it is doing so by supporting two very different candidates. So why is Russia rooting for both […]

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Same Goal, Different Playbook: Why Russia Would Support Trump and Sanders

At first glance, it may seem contradictory that the nation’s intelligence agencies were telling Congress that President Vladimir V. Putin is presumably striving to get President Trump re-elected, while also warning Senator Bernie Sanders of evidence that he is the Russian president’s favorite Democrat. But to the intelligence analysts and outside experts who have spent […]

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Russia Is Said to Be Interfering to Aid Bernie Sanders in 2020 Election

WASHINGTON — Russia has been trying to intervene in the Democratic primaries to aid Senator Bernie Sanders, according to people familiar with the matter, and intelligence officials recently briefed him about Russian interference in the election, Mr. Sanders said on Friday. In a statement on Friday, Mr. Sanders denounced Russia, calling President Vladimir V. Putin […]

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