Russians Hacked the Olympics

Two weeks ago, I blogged about the myriad of hacking threats against the Olympics. Last week, the Washington Post reported that Russia hacked the Olympics network and tried to cast the blame on North Korea.

Of course, the evidence is classified, so there’s no way to verify this claim. And while the article speculates that the hacks were a retaliation for Russia being banned due to doping, that doesn’t ring true to me. If they tried to blame North Korea, it’s more likely that they’re trying to disrupt something between North Korea, South Korea, and the US. But I don’t know.

Posted on March 1, 2018 at 6:47 AM101 Comments


Josh March 1, 2018 9:19 AM

Seems just as likely to be propaganda to keep us afraid of those scary Russian hackers.

Bob March 1, 2018 9:29 AM

On the one hand, I want to agree with Trebla and Josh. On the other hand, they could easily be Russian shills. We’ve reached the point where the only thing we can be sure of when it comes to matters like this is that somebody’s lying to us about something, and our own intelligence communities have proven time and time again. If this were to be anti-Russia propaganda, it would be exactly the kind un-banned by the NDAA all those years ago during the Obama administration.

What this highlights is that we can’t be sure who’s telling the truth, because everybody involved has lied to us more than they’ve told the truth.

Impossibly Stupid March 1, 2018 9:33 AM


This is exactly what has happened. It smells fishy. I personally don’t believe the Russians are guilty this time.

Then you are either naive or a Russian spreading the party line (I really wish Bruce would at least post IP addresses for these anonymous comments). What that link reads like is classic “big lie” propaganda. Only the mind of a child would think they can get away with something if they first say they wouldn’t do it. “Bobby’s got a nice toy car, but I wouldn’t steal it. If he says I stole it, he’s a liar!”

Like I said in Bruce’s previous article, Russia and China are the two biggest sources of attacks on my servers. If Russia wants to pretend it wants to “work out international standards on cybersecurity”, then they can start by shutting down the shit that’s coming from their own country. Here’s a standard every organization serious about security can adopt: reward people who report insecure systems, and then actually punish the attackers. Because, right now, nobody really seems to give a damn that networks are constantly attacking one another.

parabarbarian March 1, 2018 10:11 AM

Man, those Russian are great magicians. At least 197th level Chaotic Evil Hacker Clerics.

albert March 1, 2018 10:45 AM

@Impossibly Stupid,

“… (I really wish Bruce would at least post IP addresses for these anonymous comments)…”

And why would you want that?

-All- governments practice ‘truth by proclamation’. If it works (as it appears to do here), it’s simple and cheap.

. .. . .. — ….

Bauke Jan Douma March 1, 2018 10:47 AM

The US, including, but not limited to, their hockey team, and their figure skaters, are beginning to look like sore losers. The sad thing is, they don’t even notice.

Moderator March 1, 2018 11:11 AM

@Impossibly Stupid: “I really wish Bruce would at least post IP addresses for these anonymous comments.” Ain’t gonna happen. You have just demonstrated that our visitors are more than capable of critiquing “big lie” propaganda. That said, thanks for calling attention to the ongoing problem of the use of “Anon” as an identifier. The one comment by “Anon” on this post has been deleted. Comments by “Anons” will be henceforth blocked, but can be resubmitted if accompanied by a distinguishable handle.

No March 1, 2018 11:14 AM


No, all governments that are effectively dictatorships and have no accountability or transparency to their citizens or control or influence by their citizens… practice “truth by proclamation” because it works. If they had the above things (accountability/transparency/control/influence of citizens), it wouldn’t work. The fact that it works so well in the USA is telling about what’s happening.

Note that good control and influence requires actual education of the masses too… dumbing people down to the brain power near inanimate objects means they’re easy to control by a few elite, effectively turning even democracies into dictatorships (i.e. with mere “bread and circuses”). Maybe we should all take a more active role in what our children learn, instead of just entrusting our great infallible government plus hollywood plus mass media plus video games with that too…

echo March 1, 2018 11:21 AM

I too am sceptical it was the Russians. What is their motive? The tweet did seem to indicate the Russians arecool with sound international security standards which, of course, could be a clever clever Machievellian game. The thing is you can go mad considering these things.

This excerpt made the article of the German government being hacked by “Russian” hackers relevant to this article.

The Russian hacking group known as “Fancy Bear” or “APT28”, which has been linked to Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency and accused of attacks on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 US presidential campaign, is being blamed for the cyberattack by some security experts. But there has been no official confirmation of the identity of the perpetrators, and some MPs have suggested that other hackers could be deliberately copying the notorious Russian group’s methods.

No March 1, 2018 11:21 AM


I don’t think trying to restrict anonymous postings is going to work on this kind of forum, where anyone can use any handle (and change it to anything they want whenever they want)…. For example, I’m a long time reader/poster who uses a new handle every time I come here, and post from Tor (so good luck trying to see if I’m a “Russian shill” merely from IP address anyway)… should I be banned too, even though I try to include helpful comments? I do try to at least use a consistent handle throughout each separate “conversation” though, so maybe that’s my saving grace…

Jerbs March 1, 2018 11:51 AM


Stop being a fool unless you have some evidence to base your “alt-conclusions” on.

D. Bronder March 1, 2018 12:18 PM

I am shocked by this horrific “news”.

Schlock news is here to stay, evidently. Let’s sit back for moment and reflect on reality. There is one hacking superpower on planet earth, which hacks everything (if recent revelations are true), to include Angry Birds, real time, 24/7, and twice on Sundays. If we did some research into election meddling by the U.S., it might not be a pretty picture, by the way.

Most big states hack: it’s a growth industry. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.

This “news” about Russia is not disinformation, but it is intended for a gullible American public.

Alyer Babtu March 1, 2018 12:32 PM

It doesn’t seem clear what the hacks were about. Was it the “Olympics”, or something else, associated in some way? At this point many are so cynical they take everything, Olympics included, with a grain of salt. Maybe the point was to induce sodium toxicity. In the end, why should any reasonable person care about the Olympics ? It’s a perverted use of athletics and has become a kind of golden calf. Abandon it.

hmm March 1, 2018 12:47 PM

“I too am sceptical it was the Russians. What is their motive?”

Of course there are obvious motives.

Russia has a (doping) problem that’s become a feud with the Olympic Committee.
It’s a massive national embarrassment for a state seeking superpower status.
Not only caught cheating, but expelled and shamed nationally.

Plus the Sochi fails were right on the chin also…

Nobody is saying the US doesn’t hack by saying Russia’s fingers are on THIS hack.
The two are not mutually exclusive concepts. Don’t confuse those issues, they don’t touch much.

Pointing out proven attribution is fair game. Pointing out US attribution in other attacks is also.
The American public is gullible, but not every last thing is a great independent example of that.

“Most big states hack: it’s a growth industry. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.”

True. So why should it be a great surprise that Russia would do so against an obvious target?

Further if any would like to make this story into the main trunk of a conspiracy theory, they’re going to need some evidence to point to. Simply saying the US has a motive to frame Russia without evidence of it in any way whatsoever, you might as well be working for the Kremlin’s trollbot farm. That’s not an argument or a forensic analysis, that’s an un-fleshed conspiracy theory. There are a hundred billion of those to counter with… so let’s stick to the evidence eh?

The evidence points to Russia trying to make it look like NK, according to non-Russian sources.
Make of that what you wish, but adding apple slices doesn’t make it a pie either.

hmm March 1, 2018 12:50 PM

If you’re going to take Russia’s word and that’s the end of it?

Then you have no need for the facts, you’re all set and self-contained already.

D’strovia, Komrades!

Impossibly Stupid March 1, 2018 12:58 PM

@Impossibly Stupid Too

All the comments are anonymous.

Only to the extent that the authors don’t take ownership of them. Anyone can pretend to be anyone here at a surface level, sure, but I could still digitally sign my messages or catalog them on my web site.


And why would you want that?

Because otherwise it can be hard to follow topics of conversation here, especially when people are allowed to drift off topic and/or become long winded. Anyone can jump nyms at any time and/or be a sock puppet. The comments suffer when there is a lack of continuity.


Ain’t gonna happen.

Keep in mind that it need not be their actual IP address. Perhaps a salted hash instead, or even just a counter. I’m generally a fan of anonymity, too, but some people here seem to abuse it too frequently.

Comments by “Anons” will be henceforth blocked, but can be resubmitted if accompanied by a distinguishable handle.

But anyone can take any “distinguishable” handle. The problem isn’t just the use of “Anon” itself, it’s that “Anon” could have instead chosen to use someone else’s normal handle, or that they might actually be the same person who is also making other comments under different handles just to stir the pot. We can’t tell the difference with the information we currently have, and it’d be nice if we could.

hmm March 1, 2018 1:04 PM

“some MPs have suggested that other hackers could be deliberately copying the notorious Russian group’s methods.”

That’s an easy 1-liner possibility to throw out there, but proving it happened here is more complex a challenge and to my knowledge nobody has done so.

So if someone HAS PROOF that the US (or anyone!) has framed Russian hackers here, or even some interesting analysis of the forensic facts to share, we’d all love to read it with a skeptical eye and find maybe some magic needle-in-haystack detail that backs all this…

Until that happens what are you even attempting to argue with here? Gut instincts?
Belief systems, left at that?

If the US for example were to put big resources behind hacking the IOC to frame Russia, and it would cost big for the US to do it compared to Russia’s APT setup, you would imagine a more explosive conclusion or some further rationale being pushed along with it. Compared to other things Russia’s done lately, this is pretty trivial in terms of consequences for them. If it were a US IC effort, it’s decidedly small potatoes to no great ends. Everyone KNOWS Russia has hacking capabilities and uses them. Even people pretending not to in this very forum know that. Reiterating it via elaborate framing doesn’t make a lot of sense to my eye when there’s so much else to point to.

It’s one thing to demonize Russia, it’s another to pillory them. The truth is probably in between.
But if you’re going to come to truth you’re going to need more than gut instinct. My 2 rubles…

Denton Scratch March 1, 2018 1:16 PM

@Impossibly Stupid: “I really wish Bruce would at least post IP addresses for these anonymous comments”

Has it crossed your mind that the attacks appear to come from Russia and China because both countries contain large concentrations of obsolete, non-upgradable windows installations? And that these machines are running proxies and other malware, and are not under the control of their owners?

Also, isn’t everyone here (except Bruce:-) anonymous? For example, can it be true that your surname is “Stupid”?

echo March 1, 2018 1:20 PM


I’ve witnessed and experienced enough abuses of authority not to believe a job title just because they say so. With regard to UK law it is a citizens right not to believe a state agent and to actually demand and get a reasoned explantion (with all the usual caveats applying).

I don’t give the Russians a free pass on human rights either.

I believe the German parliament is asking a legitimate question.

hmm March 1, 2018 1:21 PM


So your proposed theory is massive Russian botnets did this. A fair theory.


And don’t get so hung up on monickers, let your points speak louder than your title.

Denton Scratch March 1, 2018 1:22 PM

@moderator @all I normally finish reading a thread before I post. This time I broke that rule. My previous post adds nothing to this thread, it just repeats stuff others said. So I regret it. Sorry.

hmm March 1, 2018 1:29 PM

“I’ve witnessed and experienced enough abuses of authority”

Both of us have. What bearing does that really have in determining a heads or tails here?

“I believe the German parliament is asking a legitimate question.”

Every question is legitimate because asked properly it’s open-ended and fact-dependent.

It however appears to me you’re beyond the question phase and into a conclusion that you’re being lied to in an attempt to frame Russia, and all I’m asking for is what you can point to of fact related to that conclusion that isn’t pure gut-theory.

I myself don’t claim to know it was Russia or anyone else. But we can’t challenge a forensic attribution without even looking at it, right? Someone did some homework and we’d have to do a comparable amount of work to check it and find faults or omissions. The P/NP thing.

Share with us echo, what have you found of a factual basis here?

Clive Robinson March 1, 2018 2:08 PM

@ hmm,

Until that happens what are you even attempting to argue with here? Gut instincts?
Belief systems, left at that?

We don’t have evidence one way or the other, so we need to step back a step or two.

In generall investigators of a serious crime look for the basic human motivators passion and greed.

So maybe we should be asking the old “follow the money” type questions.

The first I would think about would be what are the relations currently between Russia and North Korea. That is is it in Russians interet to upset either the North or South Koreans?

The point is that Russian athletes did take part and did win medals, although not under the Russian flag. The IOC want to get the dopping scandle into the past as much as the Russian Government does because it’s hurting their bottom line as well as being embarrassing. I think the Russian Government whilst protesting officially to avoid other issues would not want to actualy “rock the boat”, it’s not realy in even their short term interests to do so.

How about China, well we know relationships with South Korea have gone down hill recently because of the US Radar instalations. But China still has relations with the North and more importantly as they tend to think long term they know that it is better not to have the North and South atagonistic to each other as that would make the US more pushy towards the South.

How about Japan or Taiwan, both of them feel threatened by North Korea and China thus causing antagonism between the North and the South would help keep the US on side with regards the South China Seas. But also they are both threatened economicaly by South Korea, reunification would not benifit either Japan or Taiwan economically in fact the exact opposit.

How about Iran, keeping US eyes in the South China Seas takes preasure of of them. But they are developing relations with Russia so upsetting them would not be in their favour, and they still have some limited relations with North Korea.

What about South Korea, well there are factions in South Korea that strongly align with the US, they are currently out of favour politicaly, but it would certainly be in their interests to upset both Russia and North Korea as they are seen as the top two US enemies currently.

I will let others have a think about the US but antagonising the North and preventing any kind of reunification with the South has been both a military and economic policy for a lifetime and more recently ruffling China’s feathers as well, even though much has been made over “getting around the table” to talk a deal etc.

Oh one last thing, be skeptical of the US MSM even the Department of Homeland Security has had to slap down NBC over what is false reporting of quite a grevious nature.

D. Bronder March 1, 2018 2:17 PM

The fact that the Olympics are now a hack-a-thon tells us a lot about where the world is going. But this Olympics was politically loaded given that North Korea is likely to be bombed soon and Kim Jong Un’s STASI-like half-sister crossed the border and threw flowers at the media’s feet.

This focus on Russia, this mania, is curious given the very real threat of war on the Korean Peninsula and the other serious issues going on in the world, especially in the Middle East. It seems that the fake news media is determined that people do not engage reality and have an even-minded view of state-sponsored hacking. The U.S. probably spent the GDP of Latvia just on this data collection event, and now the fake news media tells us about the evils of Russia. It is astonishing.

Last time I checked the U.S. was at war in Afghanistan, which is about to fall, and Syria threatens to make the Book of Ezekiel (Chapter 38) come true. And the Russians in Syria is another story you are not going to hear, but it goes like this: ISIS grows, Russians arrive, ISIS has their teeth knocked out, Russians go home.

Oh, well. Maybe the U.S. needs an enemy because of the deep social divisions in the country right now. I thought about this: if ethnic Russians were not white and generally conservative, would they have been picked out for attack by the Left in America, who dominate the media. I rather doubt it.

Vilifying the Russians has become monotonous, and it would be best to think of them as people we can work with on real problems such as international terrorism and the threat of war, especially on the Korean Peninsula. It is not time to make foolish comments to them as Obama did. It is time to work with them and prevent a catastrophe.

echo March 1, 2018 2:21 PM


Within the context of UK/EU law the problem presented by the topic is essentially a heuristic. In this instance and with the absense of scientific or legal guidance the jurisprudence is, essentially, an intuition, gut feeling, or hunch is allowed. A well reasoned belief also has legal standing as eminent case law confirms.

The obligation is not on me to supply proof. As per the topic we are still waiting on this proof.

I’m not stopping anyone from following lines of enquiry and obtaining proof one way or another.

Plus what Clive Robinson and D. Bronder said.

HJohn March 1, 2018 2:23 PM

@Impossibly Stupid: “or that they might actually be the same person who is also making other comments under different handles just to stir the pot.”

In my experience here, they seem to handle sock puppets pretty well.

A few years back I debated someone (I’m pretty sure it was on this very block) who was surprisingly nasty, and then other commenters ganged up on me equally as nasty. I was a bit surprised at the support his nastiness was garnering…. until all the comments disappeared with a warning from the moderator that one cannot bring imaginary friends with them to win a debate.

Granted, that was just one experience, but I’ve seen others warned and block. Not saying it doesn’t happen, just saying that I’ve followed this blog for years and it is never tolerated for very long.

Jeff March 1, 2018 2:28 PM

Every system on the Internet gets probed by Russians and Chinese, etc. I’d be surprised if my servers weren’t being accessed from Russian IP addresses. When I see a story about Russians attempting to hack a server, I think that’s normal. I only began to believe our election was attacked by the Russian government (Putin) after the FBI started referring to secret intelligence sources. So, what type of Russian hackers were fooling around in the Olympics? Why assume it was the Russian gov’t?

albert March 1, 2018 2:34 PM

@Impossibly Stupid,
I always use my real first name, and my sign off as well. That’s as far as I want to go with it. Why? Because I want to follow conversations as well as most of the commenters here. And believe me, I’ve got a shipload of kewl handles I could be using. The only reason I see for ‘anonymous’ handles is trolling. If one isn’t trolling, then one should choose a handle and stick to it. There are many more reasons for enforcing anonymity than not.
Reunification of N. & S. Korea would benefit both immensely. They could then use land routes directly to China, and avoid sea lanes and air freight. China might even build them a high-speed rail line. This would not bode well for US interests in that area. China has clear long-term plans and they are realizing them. Frankly, I don’t know what the US long-term plans in SE Asia are, except for sowing discontent there, which has also been a major goal of US policy in the Middle East. The Council on Foreign Relations has promoted this policy for decades. The current version seems to be stuck on Phase 1, military intervention, and Phase 2, economic takeover, doesn’t appear to be happening just yet. We really need some new blood in the policy making machine, while the apples are still on the tree (so to speak).

. .. . .. — ….

hmm March 1, 2018 4:18 PM

“essentially, an intuition, gut feeling, or hunch is allowed.”

So long as you admit publicly that’s what it is in entirety, sure.

Ratio March 1, 2018 4:30 PM

@D. Bronder,

And the Russians in Syria is another story you are not going to hear, but it goes like this: ISIS grows, Russians arrive, ISIS has their teeth knocked out, Russians go home.

Ahahahaha! Good one.

hmm March 1, 2018 5:14 PM

“The obligation is not on me to supply proof.”

Well if you’re going to try to counter the existing forensic analysis effectively, isn’t it though?

If every time malware (destructive fake-ransomware variants of existing malware in this case..) linked to Russian campaigns previously, subsequently attacks another target of Russia after pre-emptive denials by Russia and scouting pre-attack mapping is definitively attributed to Russian domains controlled by the same APT’s that previously attacked Ukraine… you’d like to go through every possible hypothetical other suspect in the world, fine. We sure can do that.

But if you do that without any specific rationale pointing to something specific, it’s quite hollow.

So far was have definitive (classified) attribution being declared and gut-hunches opposed.

Per Bruce : ” If they tried to blame North Korea, it’s more likely that they’re trying to disrupt something between North Korea, South Korea, and the US. But I don’t know. ”

It fits nicely in both respects, if we don’t have to pick one.

So sure, let’s all take steps back and wait as long as you need to feel comfortable with what we already know, but unless someone is able to come up with a single bit of contrary evidence indicating this as-stated attribution is incorrect, the entire null hypothesis is as yet unsupported by ANY evidence where the original hypothesis seems to fit on ALL counts – without exception. We await that contradictory fact. So far, nothing.

Anyone who wants to blow this wide open only needs a single bit of evidence to do so.
A hunch can’t do it. Until that time the attribution stands virtually unopposed.

A Distinguishable Handle March 1, 2018 5:42 PM

Can someone enlighten me on the actual benefits of hacking the Olympic committee? It seems like this false-flag would be the best you could do with that, and as established, we don’t really know who’s hacking who anymore.

hmm March 1, 2018 5:46 PM

@ Bronder

“It seems that the fake news media…”

“It seems that the fake-fact blog commentia…”

Attempts at smearing “the media” isn’t required here, nor are generalized defenses of Russia.
They won’t help make the case you’re trying to make, assuming you care to be factual.

You use specific facts. You don’t use slogans, and especially not slogans related to the Russian disinformation campaign as 13+ Russian nationals are officially indicted on, as the investigation into Russian hacking in multiple domains all continue simultaneously with plenty of evidence in hand already.

Russia can handle their own defenses. Not just paid troll farms, they have Lavrov to do that.

*(careful, that’s a “media” jpeg obtained from “the” RUSSIAN MEDIA because Donald Trump kept it secret from the US media and lawmakers both, and in fact it remained secret until released in the Russian media to celebrate the compromise of Trump further. -Oh yeah, I fact-checked that for you already but feel free.)

hmm March 1, 2018 5:47 PM

Attempts aren’t not isn’t, d’oh. I am in fact an English speaker from time to time.

Take my word.

hmm March 1, 2018 6:07 PM

“Can someone enlighten me on the actual benefits of hacking the Olympic committee?”

Discrediting the organization, ‘framing’ NK to cause tension between the US and NK that was going soft,
spite alone at the national insult of being expelled for cheating as a COUNTRY that prides itself…
probably good practice with eye to a lot more work in the future, digested in public by experts..
Who knows.

Comparatively, look similarly at the actual benefits if it were a false flag – pretty meager – you’d get to either falsely attribute malware to NK or Russia (or whoever in your hypothetical, but in this case it appeared to be Russia attempting to look like NK in a rather ham-handed hybrid attack using a variant of Russia-linked malware) but everyone knows both NK and Russia HAVE PLENTY of malware already, and they use it. So unless it did something really dastardly or new it wasn’t really a big deal by itself. They found it quickly and shut it down more or less right away. BFD.

It’s not some great shocker either way nor would it convince anybody who isn’t already convinced that either one of those nations DO use cyberwar capabilities regularly. Because they’d have to be intentionally illiterate on the subject, or a propagandist – I can’t think of a plausible third. It also wouldn’t be enough to declare war on NK nor Russia if the US were doing it for cassus belli or something. IOC servers are not US infrastructure like a power grid.

Impossibly Stupid March 1, 2018 8:08 PM

@Denton Scratch

Has it crossed your mind that the attacks appear to come from Russia and China because both countries contain large concentrations of obsolete, non-upgradable windows installations?

What does that matter to the victim? I’m being attacked, and someone is supposed to be responsible for the network that’s attacking me, yet they are doing nothing to stop the attacks. Like I said, that seems to be a problem everywhere on the Internet, not just Russia and China. But those two are the worst, for whatever reason, and so Russia needs to stop acting all innocent when it comes to cybersecurity. I’ll believe they’re serious when they start offering a $20 reward for every abuse report that originate from their country. Hell, I’d settle for even $5, and I’d still be rolling in dough.

Also, isn’t everyone here (except Bruce:-) anonymous? For example, can it be true that your surname is “Stupid”?

I link to my web site, which is the first in a chain of links that leaves me far from anonymous.

@A Distinguishable Handle

Can someone enlighten me on the actual benefits of hacking the Olympic committee?

It’s hard to know the end game without seeing the whole plan. But given the kind of access that the Olympics get to a lot of nations, just the first step of getting in would have a huge value for both direct and indirect attacks. The same thing is worth thinking about when it comes to hacking the US election: if they can maintain a foothold on the inside for 4 years, it makes it just that much easier to continue to screw with the next one that comes along.

Rufo Guerreschi March 1, 2018 9:00 PM

The inherent difficulty of attribution of cyberincidents, and lack of international authority, is fast becoming the most dangerous security threat to the maintainance of peace among nuclear powers.

hmm March 1, 2018 10:14 PM

@ Rufo

That’s true. Outcomes are potentially very serious – Less so in this case, more in others.

The public is being to large degrees excluded and thus related expressions of doubt are reasonable.
At some point trust has to be verified. One major issue is with classification-redacted info.
IF it came back out of classification quickly, people could have a lot more justified faith.

OTOH, attribution isn’t about public opinion or public consensus even of itself.
It’s detective work, detail matching ultimately only able to be performed by experts.
That culmination of experts really are in a position to sign off. Not any of us here.
It’s a black box with some satellite black boxes agreeing with it from around the world.
Not a whole lot of trust is earned by agencies that keep secrets for a living.

We would be better served by some sort of intermediary auditor, but that’s.. not going to happen…
So of course I understand Clive and others hedging their bets, that’s very reasonable.

Yet we still don’t have any shred of evidence to point to disprove it at all, as of now.
So the only course is to wait until leaks or declassification put that in our hands.
I suppose if we were any of us really motivated to go protest on this issue, demanding proof of attribution details… we could probably get the fire hose for our trouble…

That’s where our options run out : waiting, conspiracy theory bickering, or the fire hose.
Fourth option : Trick Trump admin into giving you a clearance.. hmm, so crazy it just might..

ismar March 1, 2018 11:58 PM

I have had it with these claims accompanied with the usual – “evidence is classified” bullshit.
If they want us to take the claims seriously they give some proof – there are plenty of people how can peer review it.

In addition, isn’t it interesting that

  1. hack happened because security was not in place
  2. hack was somehow discovered and attributed
  3. hack was fixed very quickly

To me this does not make sense as if you don’t have capability to guard against the hack in the first place how do you then discover it and very quickly fix and make attribution?

But then what would I know ?

hmm March 2, 2018 12:53 AM


If you’re hit by old malware nobody cares, new malware gets eyeballs right away.
It’s a very NOISY malware by design – it destroys the Windows install + network. Noticeable ASAP.

Petya was ransomware targeting Ukraine mostly, NotPetya was a crippled similar-build but had the interesting “feature” of being unable to decrypt the data. So it was fake ransomware that shared DNA, but was actually destructiveware. Also its payment wallet feature was undeveloped, the authors didn’t much care if the single hardcoded wallet address got blocked off the bat. So it wasn’t after money but was made to look like it was. Petya/Notpetya also attacked mostly Ukrainian targets. (That should be a minor hint.)

“The superficial resemblance to Petya is only skin deep,” noted computer security veteran The Grugq. “Although there is significant code sharing, the real Petya was a criminal enterprise for making money. This [latest malware] is definitely not designed to make money. This is designed to spread fast and cause damage, with a plausibly deniable cover of ransomware.”

The “NotPetya” variant utilized in the 2017 attack uses EternalBlue, an exploit which takes advantage of a vulnerability in Windows’ Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. EternalBlue is generally believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA);[19] it was leaked in April 2017 and was also used by WannaCry.[21][19] The malware uses multiple techniques to spread to other computers on the same network, including harvesting passwords, and using those passwords in conjunction with PSExec to run code on other local computers.[22][23][24] Additionally, although it still purports to be ransomware, the encryption routine was modified so that the malware could not technically revert its changes.[25] This characteristic, along with other unusual signs in comparison to WannaCry (including the relatively low unlock fee of US$300, and using a single, fixed Bitcoin wallet to collect ransom payments rather than generating a unique ID for each specific infection for tracking purposes),[26] prompted researchers to speculate that this attack was not intended to be a profit-generating venture, but to damage devices quickly, and ride off the media attention WannaCry received by claiming to be ransomware. <- ~ok level of detail.

“For many days, people were classifying NotPetya as an actual ransomware,” said Matt Suiche, founder of Comae Technologies, a cybersecurity firm. “It took a few days for people to understand what it was doing” — that it was permanently wiping data, he said.

Characteristics that match that effort, and notpetya was confidently attributed to GRU.
That attribution took months, this attribution wasn’t made “instantly” but over weeks to months.

I agree classification is bullshit as implemented.

Hmm March 2, 2018 2:08 AM

If petya/notpetya weren’t both Russia, the “actor” would have damaged Ukraine to the tune of Billions,
because both were primarily targeting Ukraine, along with billions more around the world collaterally.

Pretty convincing cover for a ‘false flag’ just to blow it up on the IOC hack of no value.

Hypothetically (cough) if the actor was Russia all three times.. direct and to the point?
Now where have I seen something direct and to the point from Russia lately? Hmm..
No that’s not it… hang on..
Alright.. I get it.. well played intercept..

Bah. You all saw Putin threaten nuclear war for some reason leading up to his.. 4th? 5th Presidency?

I mean election. It’s not a Presidency yet, because he hasn’t won his 90% yet.
Everyone knows that’s how a strong democratic system operates – lots of mandate.
Forever. Same guy. Because he just keeps on.. winning.. oh Lordy..

Ismar Duderija March 2, 2018 2:18 AM

So what you are saying is that the guilt is equally spread between NSA (for developing the hacking tools) Microsoft for creating a vulnerable OS and the act al hackers who ever they might be.

hmm March 2, 2018 2:27 AM


There’s a lot of guilt in the world Ismar.

Windows users in 2018 are guilty of something..

(gestures at hypothetical immigrant, grabs laptop and runs out back door)

hmm March 2, 2018 2:37 AM

“We can now proceed with the construction of a fundamentally new type of weapon,” Mr. Putin said.
The threats evoked the bombast of the Cold War. But this time they are not based on greater numbers of bombs but increased capabilities, stealth and guile. Mr. Putin’s boasts about undersea nuclear torpedoes and earth-hugging cruise missiles emphasized the uselessness of American defenses against such weapons.

I’ll be first to admit, if the glove don’t fit..

65535 March 2, 2018 3:50 AM

“Russian military spies hacked several hundred computers used by authorities at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, according to U.S. intelligence. They did so while trying to make it appear as though the intrusion was conducted by North Korea, what is known as a “false-flag” operation…”- Wapo

Sure. You can take to the bank because USA Agencies are awesomely truthful or at least give us the “least untruthful” statement.

Clive Robinson March 2, 2018 4:11 AM

@ A Distinguishable Handle,

Can someone enlighten me on the actual benefits of hacking the Olympic committee?

Yes I can give you a long standing one.

You are I asume somewhat aware of the “Steel dossier” that both US parties funded?

Well the person behind it is ex British IC according to what has been reported. Well apparently from what has been said he got the job in part because of the way he brought Sep Blatter and the others on the take in FIFA down.

Basically he dug out the evidence that the FBI used to go after them on corruption charges.

Apparently he was also investigating the IOC in the same way and was making good head way. This was prior to getting the call from the middle man organisation to dig for dirt on Trump. Reading between the lines on what has been reported Mr Steel was very attracted to the idea of going after Donald Trump. Because it appears he had assumed for quite some time that D.Trump was corrupt. Apparently he had come across D.Trump and his business dealings in Russia whilst working there for British Intelligence.

But with regards hacking the IOC the thing is there is a lot of coruption going on in international sports with vote buying being the least of it. We know from other reportings that the drug testing side was very probably involved with all sorts of dodgy dealings not just with Russia but several other countries as well.

So yes various people have an interest in going after the IOC for coruption the FBI being one of them…

Which is part of the reason I said that the IOC wants to put the Russian drugs side of things behind them as quickly as it reasonably can. Thus the spat between Russia and the IOC is more for show than anything else. The IOC have to appear to be credibly firm in the face of both doping and the countries involved with it to try and avoid being further accused/investigated for corruption. As it was we can see that in reality the IOC appart from making a lot of noise realy did not do much in the end. Because Russian athletes took part, they won medals but not under the Russian Flag or Anthem.

We know because they got disclosed that the CIA has tools to make any attack they do look like it has come from someone and somewhere else. In effect a standard “false flag” / disinformation tool. It would be increadibly daft to assume they are the only IC or SigInt entity in the world with such tools. In fact we have reason to believe that the likes of GCHQ actually have better tools.

On of the things that realy annoys me about the “Internet attribution ” game is how many of the companies involved do not acknowledge that what they are saying is at best pure hyperbole and no more than hearsay at best with a very large side order of confirmation bias thrown in on top. The US ones also know which side their bread is buttered on so ensure they get future jam they make statments that correlate strongly with the latest “existential threat” the US Government are banging the drum on.

Real atribution is only going to happen with good HumInt which is something the US is not very good at for various historic reasons. Thus they are reliant on other nations “ears, eyes and boots on the ground” or “methods and sources” which unfortunatly the US politicians keep burning. Which means cooperation from other nations IC entities is likely to be less in future…

hmm March 2, 2018 4:50 AM

@ Clive

Well.. attribution isn’t necessarily being fully done by the US alone, surely not in this case.
Something classified locally doesn’t mean the US is the only one looking or ‘attributing’ it.
I like to imagine if other linked corps disagreed for good reasons that would be fully considered.

Dan H March 2, 2018 8:59 AM

Too bad that Americans created the light bulb and computers, otherwise Clive would be writing his diatribe against the US with crayons under candlelight.

Impossibly Stupid March 2, 2018 9:40 AM

@Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

@Impossibly Stupid,

I link to my web site, which is the first in a chain of links that leaves me far from anonymous.

Good thinking.

Perhaps you missed my point about ownership when Impossibly Stupid Too linked to my blog. Unlike Russia hacking the Olympics, it is far from plausible that you’re actually Putin. The site you link to doesn’t show he has any direct interest in technology/security matters (although, being ex-KGB, I have to assume he does). So, by all means, go ahead update Vlad’s site to reference this discussion if you want to add some credibility to your claims. 🙂 I know that you’re really just jokingly abusing the anonymity of the commenting system, but you make my point in doing so.

Tatütata March 2, 2018 10:13 AM

Regarding country attribution:

How is the DPRK connected to the outside world?

If their access is through the PRC (which to me seems the most logical option), is north-Korean traffic vetted by the Great Firewall of China, or do they have a cat-flap that allows them through it? Either way, Beijing might have knowledge of what actually goes on.

An alternative would have to be a circuit through the Russian-DPRK border, but the area seems to be the butt of the planet on either side of the border.

Regarding user attribution:

Perhaps a hash of the IP address, to limit sock-puppetting and identity multiplication?

There are a few systems that create an avatar based on the (non-displayed) e-mail address which was enterd.

Gerard van Vooren March 2, 2018 1:14 PM

@ Clive Robinson,

So maybe we should be asking the old “follow the money” type questions.

I have thought about this too. I don’t know whether it has been said before, but what about just to hack because of “getting caught”. Assuming that the IOC have been hacked and that they (or whatever else) have released the case, which is of course incomplete.

So my idea would be that the NK has just hacked them, because of getting caught. Not because of the IOC intel that they could have gathered, which is, besides the ordinary number things, not much. But we do know that they are in the process of, what they are doing right now, which is getting rid of the sanctions.

Jim March 2, 2018 3:23 PM

The only thing Russia could possibly accomplish by hacking the Olympics is by making it look like another country did it, so as to sully the reputation of the other country. But I can’t see any other “benefit” than that.

Jim March 2, 2018 3:30 PM

@Impossibly Stupid: Why are you so desperate to get people’s IP addresses? That’s the one way you could actually find someone.

Hmm March 2, 2018 3:49 PM


Are you really trying to ride the national coattails of Thomas Edison?

Follow up : Have you really never heard of Charles Babbage?

Bonus round : Did you know the modern wax crayon actually comes from the US?

Coup de grace : Are you really defending America’s honor right now?

Clive Robinson March 2, 2018 6:44 PM

@ Hmm,

Well.. attribution isn’t necessarily being fully done by the US alone, surely not in this case.

How well do you know the physical / geographic structure of the Internet?

The reason I ask is few people realise the implications. Put over simply the logical center by hierarchical control is in the US but physically it more or less follows the old Victorian undersea cable network that puts The UK and the older Commonwealth countries on it’s nodes that act as “choke points”. Some of these commenwealth countries are geographically located in more or less prime position to be within the coverage area of communications satellites. These countries that are all WASP form the original members of the Five-Eyes.

From a historical perspective the Five Eyes came out of the WWII realisation by a couple of people at Bletchly Park, that whilst they had the crypto brains and organisational skills they did not have the manufacturing capability. Thus to ensure the British maintained a top table seat they pushed for what became the BRUSA MOU that later became the UKUSA “agrement” which gave rise to and formalised the Five-Eyes relatuons and eventually relations of quite a few of the various WASP nations IC entities. It’s important to realise that in effect their loyalty is not to the elected politicions of their respective nations but to a more long term conservative paternal agenda that they think/believe is in the WASP nations best interests long term.

One of the Bletchly People who was a founder of what became the Five-Eyes and put BRUSA in place was Gordon Welchman. Who also put real flesh on the bones of Traffic Analysis as well as putting in place the working structure and hierarchical managment structure that made it work effectively. He was also the original conceptual designer not just of the current military data networks used by the West but the Internet as well.

The result is that whilst the US appears to be at the center of the Internet logically the actual monitoring of data for traffic analysis etc falls on the nations that stradle the choke points, which was the Commenwelth nathions but has since been augmented by other nations with similar almost aligned interests to the WASP nations.

Unlike the US these other nations do not go in for public attribution. Including the newer nations such as Germany, Holland, Israel who have also had their “methods and sources” burnt by US politicos and their appointees…

Even with sitting on the choke points attribution in data networks is as I’ve mentioned on the odd occasion –with examples– is difficult bordering on impossible. Traffic analysis only goes so far and only just hangs in with mix nets like Tor[1]. There are techniques such as “channel padding”, “store and forward”, “end point inclusion” and a few others that would kill traffic analysis.

The only way to improve the SigInt attribution marginally is to actually be inside ALL the individual link node points at a higher level than “super user”. Even all the resources of the Five Eyes put together could not do that.

Thus attribution has to happen in other “more human” ways. In essence that is what various companies have tried to do by analyzing malware. The problem is what they are doing is not reliable for a number of reasons, just one of which is it makes “false flag” attacks more effective.

We know thanks to the US “flapping gums” that both the Dutch and Israeli SigInt agencies are fully aware of the attribution issue. Because their MO is to use the end points to get what is in effect “HumInt” via the computers audio and visual interfaces, and presumably the other HCI techniques as well. Unlike code analysis these techniques are way harder to falsify thus are much better candidates for attribution even though they are far from perfect. At the end of the day you have to get down and dirty with old school HumInt where “sources” that can be verified are used but even these are not beyond “false flag” activities if they are carried out correctly.

The problem with these “methods and sources” is when you “burn them” as the US “flapping gums” have other people then take note and it is fairly trivial to stop such HCI methods etc working.

What also amazes me is that those who have been caught with these “HumInt” HCI techniques took no measures to protect themselves from it. Which suggests that they are basically amateurs at the game and are grossly over confident in their other techniques or just do not care…

It’s not as though these HCI attacks are not public knowledge you only need look back on this blog to see they have been discussed in one way or another over and over for quite some considerable time…

As I’ve noted before for historical reasons the US is not realy up on HumInt and take a mistaken viewpoint that technological solutions are somehow better. History has a habit of pointing out that this is not a wise assumption.

But importabtly people should take a step back and ask themselves the question of “Why is it only the US Politico’s and their appointees that feel the need to make public attribution?”.

[1] If there is a way to make a mix net susceptible to traffic analysis you will probably find it in Tor. If there is a way to defeate traffic analysis then it is probably not in Tor… A point that appears lost on many people who use Tor, but is becoming more obvious as the likes of LEOs such as the FBI exploit them and make them public via court filings. Which kind of ruins it for the SigInt agencies. In many respects it is the FBI that is bringing about the “Going Dark” they keep talking up.

Clive Robinson March 3, 2018 6:44 AM

@ Dan H,

Too bad that Americans created the light bulb and computers, otherwise Clive would be writing his diatribe against the US with crayons under candlelight.

You are either trolling or a demonstration of why American public education is so bad.

Why don’t you look up the english scientist Sir Joseph Swan? He invented the incandescent light bulb about a year before Edison, more importantly his house was lit with them before Edison got close to making his work…

Tell you what I’ll give you “the simple version” that even you might understand,

As for the computer as others have noted Charles Babage is credited with that, but before him the first “stored sequential program” system was the Jacquard loom invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1804.

There is debate as to who of Alonzo Church and Alan Turing laid down the findementals of modern computing.

What is clear however is the work of Konrad Zuse in Germany who in 1941 built the first Turing compleate “electro mechanical” conputer and Tommy Flowers in England who in 1939 realised the first all electronic digital switches that were fundemental to work in the British General Post Office and his later design of the 150 thermionic vave (vacuum tubes) of the two tape “Heath Robinson” machine used to decrypt the high level “command” cipher system which was considerably more technically sophisticated than the Enigma machine.

Because of issues with synchronizing the tapes Tommy Flowers proposed a system using around 1,800 valves importantly only having only one paper tape with the cipher tape being broken.

The building of this Colossus as it became known as was considerably delayed by the interferance of Gordon Welchman who had been talked out of it by “Doc” Keen of the British Tabulating Machine Company who had a lot to lose if things went “electronic”.

Thus it was with his own funds that Tommy Flowers built the first parts of what we now call Colossus, which is crediyed as the first fully electronic Computer.

It was the over zelous desire for secrecy that kept further leading edge electronic computer developments in Britain out of common knowledge. It was because of this secrecy that leaked through Alan Turing and other accademics to US accademics that brought the US upto date. It was then political influance from the US on an empovrished Britain that as in many other discoveries gave the US Politicos the opportunity to make claims that originality that were in effect given over by the British Government.

Various historians and academics have studied this and it has been reported in various history programes, in one such program the presenter made the point that the only real claim of originality the US could claim was that of condensed milk. Whilst not entirely true it is a fairly good general indicator of the way the US PO and Courts “rights stripped” inventors in other countries have a look at the “Liquid Crystal” issue if you want a more recent example or those on the various CAT and NMRI body scanners for others.

As others have noted one of the biggest forms of “American Exceptionalism” is NIH syndrome. Oh and it still continues to this day look up what a US “submarine patent” is, oh and the fact the US PO and US patent law alows things to be patented that most other countries do not (mathmatics, software and other methods).

But I suspect you will not look things up because of the cognative disonance it will cause in your authoritarian follower mind and the “Does Not Compute” message the conflict with your unfortunately parochial propaganda education will cause to flash up.

Impossibly Stupid March 3, 2018 9:28 AM


Why are you so desperate to get people’s IP addresses? That’s the one way you could actually find someone.

Then you clearly don’t understand how IP addresses are allocated. If I told you mine was, it doesn’t really tell you anything about me personally. It’ll tell you about my ISP, so maybe my rough location, but I could also be going through a VPN, proxy, or Tor exit node.

Even so, having that sort metadata is extremely useful when it comes down to attribution to otherwise anonymous comments. I’m not going to waste my time trying to “find someone”, but I would appreciate knowing if that same someone is posting pro-Russian propoganda using multiple aliases from a Russian network. If I spent my time doing anything with that information, it’d be writing a browser extension that hid all the garbage comments here.

Sancho_P March 3, 2018 10:16 AM

@Clive Robinson

”Why is it only the US Politico’s and their appointees that feel the need to make public attribution?”

Maybe one could find the answer when rephrasing your question:
Why should others do it when Americans expose themselves to ridicule?

Shady business is done best when the public is distracted by a fool.

Grauhut March 3, 2018 9:39 PM

@Clive, A Distinguishable Handle “Can someone enlighten me on the actual benefits of hacking the Olympic committee?”

The Korean peninsula is not the safest place in the world these days.

  • Maybe, if some Russian services had had a small number of boots secretly on the ground in order to provide some extra security to Russian participants and visitors, they possibly hacked into Korean / IOC communication systems in order to have early warning in shtf cases.
  • Maybe they just wanted to say “Hi, we have an eye on this!”.
  • Maybe the “secret evidence” is just some ic bs bingo.

How could we know? Its to secret, we don’t need to know… 🙂

Ratio March 4, 2018 1:18 AM


How is the DPRK connected to the outside world?

Through China and Russia:

Dyn Research, which monitors international internet traffic flows, said it had seen Russian telecommunications company TransTeleCom routing North Korean traffic since about 0908 GMT on Sunday [October 1, 2017].

Previously traffic was handled via China Unicom […] under a deal dating back to 2010. TransTeleCom now appears to be handling roughly 60 percent of North Korean internet traffic, while Unicom transmits the remaining 40 percent or so, Dyn said.

The new external connection was first reported by 38 North, a project of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

TransTeleCom declined to confirm any new routing deal with the North Korean government or its communications arm. In a statement, it said: “TransTeleCom has historically had a junction of trunk networks with North Korea under an agreement with Korea Posts and Telecommunications Corp signed in 2009.”

(Source: Russian firm provides new internet connection to North Korea.)

Impossibly Stupid March 4, 2018 9:19 AM


I don’t see anyone arguing that the IOC or other countries are blameless in anything. If that’s the argument that Russia want to make, they should be making it. The problem is the hypocrisy of still pretending they want to make nice with the Olympics. Russia should know by now that secret attacks are not the way people in democracies want you to act when you have clashing cases of corruption.

albert March 4, 2018 2:31 PM

I heard (it may have been from the “Cyberwar” series on the Vice channel) that the Russian gov’t has a hands-off policy regarding their hackers, as long as they don’t hack R. citizens or companies. And they know who these hackers are. A sweet deal for the hackers? Not at all. When the State needs some ‘work’ done, guess who they call? And guess who has no choice in the matter?

I don’t see any positives for Russia or the DPRK to hack the Olympics. It makes no sense. What does make sense is someone or some thing making it -appear- to be Russian, or especially NK state actors.
. .. . .. — ….

Hmm March 4, 2018 3:38 PM


Just because you can’t fathom Russia’s purported motive yourself doesn’t mean none exists.
Inventing one for anyone else out of thin air doesn’t put a mote of evidence on the table.

“What does make sense is someone or some thing making it -appear- to be Russian”

Not really no, for reasons above. It doesn’t have any legs. Everyone knows Russia hacks.
Everyone also knows NK hacks. The attribution as if “new” doesn’t damage either one at all.

You can’t just manufacture a poorly-defined scenario off the top of your head and say it’s more plausible than the evidence which has been pored over by international forensic experts.
That’s really not how this works and it’s not actually that “plausible” if you think a bit.

Petya/NotPetya attacks were way, way more serious than this and they were already attributed.
There’s no gain in tacking on a smaller attribution especially for such a failed operation as this.
There’s no need to “frame” them for a light-beer version of what we KNOW they’ve done already.
That accomplishes nothing at all even for adversaries of Russia.

Even though Russia has been positively attributed, no “action” has come as a result.
None is expected. Not even sanctions. It’s not a prelude to or justification of anything.
It’s also not the first time Russia has attacked the IOC either.

If you’re going to go into what’s ‘plausible’ you ought to show some math or it’s just pure guessing.

Grauhut March 4, 2018 4:37 PM

@Hmmm: “Everyone knows Russia hacks.”

Everyone knows everyone hacks! Thats the way the game is played. 🙂

albert March 4, 2018 5:22 PM


“…which has been pored over by international forensic experts….”
Link please, otherwise I’m not going to be convinced.

You pointed out, in essence, the Russia IOC hack was a tempest without a teapot. That being the case then, explain the MSMs almost sexual obsession with anything about Russia that makes the Russians look bad.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s all BS. Accusations and denials, and no one offers a shred of proof, except proclamations. Which we are supposed to accept on faith. Well I don’t have faith, and I don’t like the track record of US IC assertions, either.

So choose what you want to believe and be happy about it.

“…Everyone knows Russia hacks…”

Everybody hacks, so what? The difference is this: US citizens are awash in MSM propaganda, and I’ll bet most of the population has no idea the everyone hacks, including our own government. What else are they to conclude, other than Russia (or NK, or China) hack, therefore they’re the bad guys.

The US War Machine needs enemies, most likely to keep increasing the military/industrial complex bottom lines. At least war profiteering has a long history, on -both- sides of past conflicts. But, there also could be ideological motivations. Nowadays, one wouldn’t think that ideology would have much meaning in the offices of the government, but I don’t know. It has in the past. That it’s the prime motivator for terrorist groups is a given. Even look at the Sunni vs. Shia conflicts.*

Forced to choose, I’ll go with the money, and not the ideology. Probably because I don’t want to think that ideology affects -our- governments decisions.

Another thing. -We- better have the best and brightest hackers working overtime, lest some other country exceed our capabilities. In the military sector, it goes without saying, but we can’t neglect the governmental and industrial sectors as well.

We need to spend more on cyber defense, and less on military hardware. We’re making a very expensive bed that we’ll have to lie in someday, and it likely won’t be comfortable.

*It reminds me of the classic Startrek episode where the crew visited a planet where there was a civil war between two groups, whose bodies were half black and half white…I’m sure you remember.
. .. . .. — ….

russians_are_coming March 4, 2018 8:44 PM

No one mentioned the documentary Icarus on Netflix. After that, I have no problem believing the Russian State is actively attempting to subvert the Olympics.

And then there’s all the coverage from Hajo Seppelt at ARD (Germany) on the IOC, doping, and the epic scale of the IOC’s corruption. The Russian State figures into it as much as Nike.

What a mess.

Hmm March 5, 2018 12:45 AM

“Link please, otherwise I’m not going to be convinced.”

Google it. Tell us what you find. I’m not going to convince someone who doesn’t look.
There’s no reason to think only the US had access to these specifics.

“explain the MSMs almost sexual obsession with anything about Russia that makes the Russians look bad.”

Reporting the news is now an obsession. Reporting on anything Trump validly screws up is a “slant”,
anything Russia hacks is a negative “takedown” piece – I think not. Not all things are propaganda.
Your characterizations nonwithstanding.

Things may be “Trumped up” so to speak, but specifics would make that case in any case.
Not broad brush anti-all-media BS assertions. Or ‘sexual’ innuendo as you might accuse..

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s all BS.”

Well? Your basis for thinking so would go a lot further than the assertion itself, sir.
The omission of it is a lot like the omission of plausible economic benefits to a trade war, say.

“So choose what you want to believe and be happy about it.”
– a rejection of the concept of knowable things? I will hold out for knowable things.
We all can wait. If you turn out to be right, and the US is lying? I’ll admit it to you.

I’ve been wrong before, I don’t hold my ego or nationalism up as a shield against facts.
Nor my belief system or value criteria.

“Everybody hacks, so what?”
-You were rejecting the plausibility that they did so. I’m not judging them for it.

“The difference is this: US citizens are awash in MSM propaganda”
-And unless you can point to exactly where it’s wrong, it’s mainstream for a reason.
Because they fact check most of it. Which would be an improvement for some sources.
Though any single fact reported still stands ready for you to challenge it on the merits, right?
That’s a benefit of a media that continues to exist instead of a random blog somewhere.
(no reference to our dear host implied obviously, he’s far surpassing that in all ways.)

“The US War Machine needs enemies”
-And doesn’t lack for them right now, in case you missed it. Russia isn’t a US target.
Until a few days ago Russia wasn’t overtly threatening nuclear war like NKim does.
It’s absurd to think the US wants to fight Russia right now militarily or otherwise.
It’s pretty much absurd any time. The MAD concept breaks down at some point, but not here.

“most likely to keep increasing the military/industrial complex bottom lines”
-You can show how this IOC hack attribution affects US funding levels?
Trump is doing everything he can to AVOID spending resources on this issue.

“Well I don’t have faith, and I don’t like the track record of US IC assertions, either.”

-A VALID argument but in lieu of a point-able plausible alternative hypothesis here what have you?
Talking points from the Kremlin farms? Doubts based on perceptions of historical events?
Either way you can’t rely on that in any one case, though it’s easy to do so.

If you admitted you had no reason but the historical record of lies, I would cede that point to you.
I have to cede the historical record, they have lied, they will again. Did they is the question.
Not can they, not would they, not will they. DID they HERE. Can we prove that, can we point to it.

I don’t say you have no right to doubt. I say the opposite. I’m a stickler for such details.
If we all were, things would be different in my humble opinion. Certainly our representation.

Clive Robinson March 5, 2018 3:39 AM

@ Hmm, Albert,

Inventing one for anyone else out of thin air doesn’t put a mote of evidence on the table.

The problem is NOBODY has put a mote of evidence on the table.

And as the US has quite happily put the closest thing to “HumInt”[1] you can get on the table before it’s quite correct to question their word on it now.

As I’ve said before the US should not make accusations without evidence, actually extrodinary evidence when it comes to diplomacy. President Obama started the silly nonsesnse of making accusations without evidence and it blew up in his face, now it’s happening again under President Trumps administration.

The point is that neither administration looks good in fact they actually look very bad if not impotent the same as The Special Investigator and his indictments, of Russians that both the UK Guardian and NYT published about long before Donald Trump threw his hat in the ring to become President.

Thus both administrations have shot themselves in the foot and made their own words worthless on the world stage and with increasing numbers of their own citizens. When people start joking about “Nothingburgers” you know things have become not just an embarrassment but farcical and credibility “has left the building”.

That’s the unfortunate truth of it. It’s got to the point the US Gov “has become the little boy who cried wolf”. One day there may well be a real cyber-danger comming out of China, Iran, North Korea or Russia, but who is going to believe the US Gov?

[1] It is possible to get some semblence of HumInt across digital networks against unprepared attackers by geting into the alledged attackers computer Human Computer Interface (HCI) and recording not just screen shots and key strokes but audio and video as well. People who have been longterm blog posters here know this and have dropped hints[2]. But they have not said it outright because then it would alert the idiots, criminals and other undesirables who would then take relatively simple steps to close those channels down[3]. However we know that both the Dutch and Israeli SigInt entities were using the assumed end point HCI to gather HumInt as the US Politico’s and their appointees went public and burned their operations in the process, thus not earning any favours in the tier two Five-Eyes nations… Thus there is now little point in keeping quiet about the tricks and methods the State Level and proffessional attackers use to preserve their anonymity at the “end point” (but that still leaves false flag attribution defence methods that I’ve indirectly mentioned before).

[2] Basicaly telling people to cut mic wires, cover camera lenses with black tape and re-clock keyboard data to remove tempo information and using “work flow” launch scripts with a single key press etc.

[3] I’ve described in quite some depth before, how to do this on this blog when talking about “energy gapping” via serial Data diodes. All you need realy is to think about a *nix server with the modern equivalent of a serial server card turning it into a “terminal concentrator”. With it going of to dumb terminals or computers configured that way with instrumented Serial Data Diodes done via microcontroler development cards that flash out warnings about non mandated traffic etc.

Clive Robinson March 5, 2018 4:53 AM

One of the problems I see in this is that it’s not in the Russian, North Korean and especially the IOC’s interests to have dopping or corruption draged up again.

If you look at,

You will see that the IOC especially wants to “put it in the past” due to scandles, resignations and firings. But have they?

It’s not just investagative journalists that are actively digging into the IOC. As I’ve mentioned before the man behind the Trump Dossier ex MI6 analyst (russia) Christopher Steel,

Was requested to look into the IOC and Russia bassed on his previous work.

After Christopher Steel retired from MI6 he set up an investigative company. Due to someone in the UK Gov “putting in the word” he was contacted by the UK Football Asociation over corruption in FIFA as to why Russia got the World Cup. This predated the FBI corruption charges that brought FIFA officials down and was largely based on Steel’s work.

Steel was known to have been going after the IOC it would appear again at the behest of the FBI going after IOC individuals and Russian doping and sample fixing.

Whilst doing this he apparently dropped it after being contacted by a US firm “who had had a word put in from the US Gov” to dig into Donald Trump. It was this that apparently engrossed Steel so much it “pushed him off the rails” and thus damaged his credibility.

The FBI is very unlikely to have given up on getting at the IOC it is way to prestigious a target. So the FBI will have either hired others similar to Mr Steel or gone down their own road. The major difference since they first had associations with Mr Steel is that the FBI have very much “upped their game” with what we would call hacking and parallel construction.

I find it very unlikely that the FBI are alone in wanting to get a “big score” in bringing the IOC down for corruption hence there is likely to be a “race mentality” in place which encorages “corner cutting”.

Thus the question arrises as to if these attacks are actually investigators freelance or otherwise digging dirt on the IOC for leads to investigate…

I suspect corruption charges against the IOC are not that far off as there is certainly quite a bit of circumstantial evidence that the IOC have been in it up to their eyebrows if not beyond.

Hmm March 5, 2018 1:22 PM

” It was this that apparently engrossed Steel so much it “pushed him off the rails” and thus damaged his credibility.”

Steele’s credibility is intact, in fact. Steele didn’t “make up” any of it nor is accused of that
by anyone with any credibility. So I don’t know where you’re pretending he’s damaged somehow.
And certainly not damaged compared to the target of his investigation…

“The FBI is very unlikely to have given up on getting at the IOC it is way to prestigious a target”

You think the FBI cares about the IOC being corrupt compared to a kompromat traitor in the WH?
Do you not see how ridiculous that is?

Do you see anyone in the IOC being indicted right now? No you don’t, do you?
You see members of the Trump administration doing the perp walk and turning state’s evidence.

I honestly don’t know whether or not the IOC is corrupt, but I do know that even if it were run by a pack of Hitler clones it still wouldn’t be as important to the FBI as the ongoing methodical removal of a proven fraud and kompromat traitor from our highest office.

“The problem is NOBODY has put a mote of evidence on the table.”

  • That’s NOT true. It’s just not on the PUBLIC table.

“As I’ve said before the US should not make accusations without evidence”

And they haven’t. They have the evidence. Some have seen it, not you or I.

So your attribution is impossible, not ANY attribution – You may be fully untrusting of their conclusions, but you have no means to argue with it beyond speculation. You are allowed to doubt and you can demand to see for yourself but at the end of the day until you’ve found something comparable to the expertise of hundreds or thousands of forensic investigators from around the world with which to doubt their conclusions, you aren’t going to make the case at all really. A theory is just a theory, a report is a tangible thing with references and people’s professional reputations riding on it. And it exists.

What you can’t do is propose a hypothetical and say it’s “as plausible” as the attribution report itself based on the facts of the matter, secret though they may be, and you’re literally making up loose scenarios to try to fit a set of facts you don’t even have access to instead.

The more you read about this the more clear it is :

APT28 has a long history of attacking the IOC, and have published results of those hacks before.

You can’t really argue that point even if you don’t want to accept the ramifications.
The FBI isn’t inventing facts about Russia’s doping program nor the hack attempts.
Steele provably didn’t invent facts about Donald Trump, he reported what he found.
There is zero evidence to the contrary and a wealth of info in support.

Their theories don’t hold water, but you still doggedly attempt to carry it for them.
You are effectively spreading FUD with nothing to point to in support of your doubts.
That’s a problem for your personal attribution effort here among the several.

Hmm March 5, 2018 1:29 PM

*By the way you’re parroting APT28’s debunked theories about the IOC being corrupt.

I thought that was interesting.

Hmm March 5, 2018 1:34 PM

Correction – Christopher Steele, not Michael Steele. I’ve tripped on that one before.

Clive Robinson March 5, 2018 3:06 PM

@ Hmm,

By the way you’re parroting APT28’s debunked theories about the IOC being corrupt.

Well first off they are not APT28’s theories, they have been reported for quite some time by investigative journalists and have in part been backed up by witnesses. But if there was not a degree of truth in them why the unexpected resignations and firings of IOC members?

You real are painting yourself into a corner and I realy wish you would stop because you are just knee jerking, over and over.

Then you start in with that “Traitor in the WH” again. It has been patiently explained to you several times and by several people why your view point is not just wrong but says way more about you than it does for the person you are so hung up about.

This blog has a disproportionate number of your brain dumps on this subject and to be frank you are not only wasting your time but the time of others.

Either give it a rest or go away, you’ve made enough unsupported allegations not just at the current US President but several people on this blog and I am probably not the only one who is getting to tired of your dumps to even bother with them any more.

In short you are rude, antisocial and a nuisance and making unfound allegations against people here does in no way help your case.

Now if you will excuse me I’ve better things to do as I’m sure other people on this blog do as well.

Hmm March 5, 2018 5:50 PM

I could say the same of your landscape whitewashing, Clive. It’s a pretty picture.
The question is do you have any evidence to support it? The answer is no, you don’t.

“Well first off they are not APT28’s theories”

Well actually in this case, they are APT28’s theories that were referred to!
Specifically that McLaren was given preemptive orders by Stupp to kick out Russia,
and that the ADC/IOC were being used as a tool of western intelligence to hit Russia.

That was referenced, that was debunked. Whatever journalism you want to hold up, this is not it.

& Here’s your declassified intel report linking previous attacks to Russia :

“Then you start in with that “Traitor in the WH” again.”

You started to try to discredit Steele. (Without a payload)
My opinion of the traitor in the WH is factually derived. He IS a traitor.

You’ve tried to pretend multiple times the entire investigation is a “sham” etc.
Multiple people involved have plead guilty. Your analysis is the “sham” in this case.
I say that sadly because I enjoy reading what you write WHEN I CAN TRUST IT TO BE TRUE.

In terms of integrity now or at any time, Chris Steele blows away any defender of Donald Trump.
His credibility is not impeached nor has it been at any time, your opine nonwithstanding.
Sorry, I don’t think you can prove any single one of Steele’s findings are false.
You sure haven’t done so as yet, preferring to assert that his “reputation is damaged”
Wrong, flatly. False. He exposed a traitor in the White House, and the prosecution continues.

You have no more credibility on this topic than any Fox News pundit besides Shep Smith.
At least he’s willing to challenge the BS tropes his propaganda outlet publishes.

“and making unfound allegations”

It’s not unfounded, you are deliberately tarbrushing US intelligence without a mote of evidence.
Every single bit points at Russia and you’ve brought NOT A DARN THING to counter any of it.

Instead you’ve brought various colorful interpretations of US malfeasance since WWII, much of which I validated if you read, but also I pointed out how you can’t rely on that to make an evidentiary finding in the present day any more than you can cite Nazi Germany as proof that Merkel has plans for world domination. Details and current specifics would make your case, and you are ignoring those for plausible reinterpretations of debunked non-facts woven together into whole cloth.

In short you ARE carrying water for APT28, whether or not you realize that right now, and your attempts to relitigate historical attributions or reattribute attacks for which expert determinations have already been made, WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE ON YOUR PART BEYOND COLORFUL ANECDOTES OR BROWBEATING, are buggered beyond belief. You’re a smart person so I’m left debating whether or not you do this intentionally, but it is true that you do it.

ALL allegations I’ve made are FULLY supported, and that’s the CITED difference between your above tirade and the litany of facts I’ve laid at your feet that you are refusing now to acknowledge in deference to your apparently deeply-ingrained conspiracy theories that cannot be proven or pointed to in facts.

The FACT is attribution points to Russia’s APT28.

YOU, Clive, as intelligent and witty and charming as you are, are not a malware forensics expert with a clearance to evaluate this and make your own report. That’s an ultimate stopping point and firewall between a factual derivation of evidence and a conjecture supported by conspiracy theorism and debunked talking points made by hacking groups WHO RECENTLY IN FACT DUMPED EMAILS RELATED TO THE HACKS THEY ARE ACCUSED OF PERPETRATING, which you still cannot admit nor accept apparently, for whatever reason.

I’m sorry if you feel facts are a waste of your time, but opine does not replace them.
Anecdotes do not debunk them. Historical ruminations do not outweigh evidence in hand.
Long stories about the history of disinformation or OPSEC do not supercede them.

I have a lot of respect for your knowledge in some areas. Your analysis in this one falls short.

As it’s rude to say so I do apologize, but it’s increasingly difficult to point out that someone is quoting a debunked source and parroting a Russian hacking group’s propaganda effort, offers no valid sources of their own, peddles debunked conspiracies, is refusing to acknowledge facts of an indisputable nature, offers vague theories as equals-or-better to evidence in hand, and talks down at anyone questioning their assertions as if it would be impossible for a mistaken assumption to have been made anywhere along the line.

The facts will speak for themselves. The indictments already do as do the attributions and dumped emails.
I am not the one with the paintbrush in the corner, Clive, but this was not a personal attack on you.
Know the difference please.

Hmm March 5, 2018 6:31 PM

I can see it now… “Was Christopher Steele the assassin? The FBI won’t tell you that.”

“What are they hiding? I guess any interpretation is as good as the next, komrade.”

“It’s despicable how the US is willing to murder British nationals just to embarrass Russia…”

Hmm March 6, 2018 12:17 AM

I don’t profess to tell anyone what they can think about or believe. Surely not Clive.

But assertions should be evaluated. Contradictory assertions have to be evaluated.

Who would be served if no one asked Clive what exactly he was saying, and exactly how he knew it?

echo March 6, 2018 6:56 AM


I note you demanded evidence which I am not obliged to provide (and have no access to because I don’t secretly run a well recourced global Sigint/Humint agency). Now you are accusing Clive of not being able to produce evidence in the other direction!

I could accuse Clive of ripping off my Russian analysis and stealing my thunder. His comment followed the exact same structure as mine and addressed the same issues. The difference is I was writing froma position of scattergun intuition and he was writing much more carefully and was specific on the technical issues. I’m not awarding myself a gold star for confirmation bias either just in case my view was a random accident.

This past month Clive gave me a fright and I wondered if we had met. I had to double check but no we haven’t.

Artists know very well about synchronicity and it must happen with analysis too. There really is no competition and creative differences and emphasis do exist. Could you back off with the antisocial brain dumps please? There’s no need for this.

Impossibly Stupid March 6, 2018 9:21 AM


Who would be served if no one asked Clive what exactly he was saying, and exactly how he knew it?

Everyone who comes here to read about the article being discussed and not the wild speculation and tangents you and Clive and others go off on. You’re all posting here more than Bruce! It’s not your blog. Go start one of your own if you want to rant on and on with this kind of volume. Bruce deserves better. Mods need to clean this place up . . .

Hmm March 6, 2018 10:02 AM

Excuse me, but the topic of the article is “Russians hacked the Olympics.”

That’s the main tangent I went off on here.

@Impossible Stupid you didn’t attempt to write anything on the topic.

That’s worth noting as you criticize my volume on topic, is it not?

Hmm March 6, 2018 10:22 AM


“Now you are accusing Clive of not being able to produce evidence in the other direction!”

… Yes. That’s reasonably what I said at length.

“Artists know very well about synchronicity and it must happen with analysis too.”

In the end there is one objective truth and we are all grasping at aspects of it, trying to capture some essence of it in our respective styles. I’m not trying to say my style is the best style. My gripe isn’t that Clive doesn’t have artistry about him, only that his hyper-realism perspective is being applied to fantastic objects d’art that possibly don’t exist in the real world and it appears he’s trying to portray a narrative involving real-world events.

That narrative is : that the US is behind everything Russia is ever accused of, or China, or NK, or x-actor, because since WWII the US has been untrustworthy.

Now he’s got a point. Obviously we can’t just take the unabridged word of anyone.
But doesn’t that also apply closer to home too?

So I wanted to lay out a record of facts as reported and demonstrate how they were individually not meshing with his purported narrative. I mean he really did lay it on a little thick without a damn shred of evidence in this case, don’t you think? He’s right that attribution is difficult, detail oriented, expert achieved, fungible perhaps, and that methods exist for impersonating other groups. He’s wrong to assert that last bit is “probably” what happened without anything to back it up but theories. Same goes for Albert who I also confronted on the same issue.

We can have nice things, we can have polite discussions, we can be civil. But if we’re going to be putting out unsupported narrative versions of what happened “as if fact” without acknowledging the vetted-and-reported facts that contradict that narrative, we ought expect some push-back on the merits – else what kind of discussion is it? Campfire stories?

Hmm March 6, 2018 10:41 AM

“You’re all posting here more than Bruce”

@Imp Stu

“I don’t see anyone arguing that the IOC or other countries are blameless in anything. If that’s the argument that Russia want to make, they should be making it. The problem is the hypocrisy of still pretending they want to make nice with the Olympics. Russia should know by now that secret attacks are not the way people in democracies want you to act when you have clashing cases of corruption.”

-I missed this of yours above but it’s a good point.

We’re trying to hold ourselves to a record of evidence. Russia does not attempt that.

Malware forensics do exist. Russia didn’t put out a competing version of events, analysis.
Russia won’t admit they’re funding an effort to discredit the IOC that is known, proven.
The doping problem itself is a nesting doll style can of worms. There is a there, there.

No conspiracy theory extant refutes all these facts, no matter how deftly pushed by Clive or anyone.

echo March 6, 2018 10:41 AM

@Impossibly Stupid

Yes this is Bruces blog. I think we should all back down and be mindful of this. Bruce allows a lot of freewheeling and off-topicry, and we shouldn’t take advantage.


We all have out vanities. I have loadsI’m sure. Clive has his. You write good things and have your vanities too. My eyeballs bleed when I read Thoths comments but I acknowledge and respect what he writes and try to grasp the essence as best I can because he’s a big sweetie underneath. Albert is lovely too.

Clive Robinson March 6, 2018 6:39 PM

@ Hmm,

That narrative is : that the US is behind everything Russia is ever accused of, or China, or NK, or x-actor, because since WWII the US has been untrustworthy.

That is a straw man argument, as you will find I’ve not said it.

At best it’s you seeing points I’ve made through your tinted glasses.

I have made comments about the US Gov and it’s four “existential threat” nations, China, Iran, North Korea and Russia. Such as they only appear to go one about one of them at anyone time and just shuffle them around and that they don’t mention any other of the many nations that are doing the same. And that I think it not just odd but noteworthily so. It smacks of a propaganda policy towards the US citizens, that –correct me if I am wrong– the US Gov is not legaly alowed to do.

With regards what the US Gov has done abroad and has been in effect verified I would say is fair comment. You might disagree but that would make it your personal view point, and by no means gives you grounds to attack me with strawman arguments and similer.

As I’ve further pointed out the US has made public claims against these countries but at no point actually offered up any evidence that they have gained. Which again I’ve pointed out is odd becsuse they are quite happy to burn the “methods and sources” of other countries.

Which is again fair comment, and your tinted glasses have distorted your view and you try to twist valid points that can easily be seen into reasons to attack me.

You’ve also made it quite clear, that my points that your use of “Traitor” with regards to the current President of the United states is inappropriate for valid reasons, is an excuse for you to try and vilify me in every which way you can distort things.

Several people have now quite explicitly told you your behaviour is inappropriate, yet you do not take it sensibly, instead you attack them as well as using it as an exuse to further vilify me.

I am also feed up with having to go around and correct your false vilifications.

I again suggest you go and read the moderator guide with regards Party Political comment and appropriate behaviour.

Hmm March 6, 2018 6:48 PM

I was told to disengage so I’m going to do that instead of respond.

We can agree to disagree, time will tell. Truth will maybe out.

Clive Robinson March 6, 2018 7:36 PM

@ Hmm,

Who would be served if no one asked Clive what exactly he was saying, and exactly how he knew it?

If you had been reading this blog forva little longer you would know the answers to that question. Which briefly are,

1, There are things I have said that you can look back at.
2, There are things I won’t say because they are personal.
3, There are things I won’t say because they may cause harm to others.
4, There are things I can not say for legal reasons.

With regards why you should be weary of Internet Attribution I’ve given the details many times before in quite some detail. Along with pointing out the need for presentable evidence, or simply waiting and not jumping to conclusions.

I’ve actually given an example in the past few days as to why I do not always give full details, and it is to do with the agnostic nature of technology. I will for instance describe how to improve your privacy, but don’t say that with a few minor tweaks it will also improve your chances of not being caught committing cyber-crime. As I pointed out there comes a point when other entities have made it so blindingly obvious that actually talking about such things in more general ways will nolonger cause any harm that the other entities have not already caused.

As for explaining things I have on occasions walked through from a K12 educational level through to the point I am making that without it might otherwise seem extrodinary. That is from the basic widely taught laws of physics through to what the US Government apparently regards as clasified as “secret” and above, which other nations regard as common knowledge. One such is from the principles behind “red eye” through to active EmSec attacks in effect using the properties of frequency agile radar to enumerate EM susceptibility thus capabilities as many transducers are also bidirectional. Knowledge of which can be also used to break Quantum Key Distribution implementations that theoreticaly offer absolutly security. As for other explanations very simple logic often applies as it does with why Internet Attribution is unreliable and false flag operations viable.

There is a line in a story by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which says how often it is that an explanation renders what appears extrodinary into that which then appears mundane (red headed league). The point of an engineers existance is to use the laws of science and to turn what appears impossible into not just the practical but the mundane. Sadly in the process robbing people of the magic.

Hmm March 6, 2018 8:01 PM

I’ve actually read this blog for a long time and have spoken up sporadically.
I’ve read what you said about attribution and all that, I agree on many points.

I’m not intending to be impolite by not responding on the merits. The opposite is true.

5: I’ve given my word to our host that I would disengage, per your direct request for that.

Anonymous2c March 7, 2018 2:24 PM

@Clive Robinson, hmm, and other residents of the blue planet

It is not hard for me to imagine that in the United States of Amnesia (“‘USA'”), Rat F?ckers are in the governments’ employment (and non-Rat F?ckers are in the governments’ employment).

It is not hard for me to imagine that in the USA Rat F?ckers are f?cking trying to save their asses from a shower with Bubba in prison or jail.

For example, Trump et al. may soon be found to be guilty of being despicable trash; of course, that is not inconsistent with elements of the FBI, CIA, MIC, Congress, local governments, MSM, etc., continuing to lie through their teeth.

Potential Rat F?ckers appear to be abundant on the blue planet.

Anonymous2c March 7, 2018 4:58 PM

From Le Carre, John, The Secret Pilgrim, 1990. G Smiley talking to new spies:

… “So if my past were still around today, you could say I’d failed. But it’s not aroun d. We won. Not that the victory matters a damn. And perhaps we didn’t win anyway. Perhaps they just lost. Or perhaps, without the bonds of ideological conflict to restrain us any more, our troubles are just beginning. Never mind. What matters is that the long war is over. What matters is the hope.
chapter 2
and, Smiley, again
… “They’re the whores of our striving selves. One day, history may tell us who really one. If a democratic Russia emerges–why then, Russia will have been the winner. And if the West chokes on its own materialism, then the West may still turn out to have been the loser. History keeps her secrets longer than most of us. … You asked me how we should of Russia today.”
chapter 12

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