Tag Archives: hillary-clinton

Clinton Campaign Sent Fake Phishing Emails to Its Own Staff

Mother Jones

Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House will be remembered for many things, but information security isn’t likely to be one of them. Her campaign was buffeted by two major hacking episodes. First, the contents of Democratic National Committee servers were stolen and disseminated through WikiLeaks and other news organizations. Then campaign chairman John Podesta had his personal email account hacked and its contents passed to WikiLeaks, which subsequently released the 50,000-email set in chunks over a period of weeks as the presidential election reached fever pitch. The US government’s intelligence community went on to assert that the hacks had been orchestrated at the behest of the Russian government as a deliberate attempt to hurt Clinton’s chances and boost Donald Trump.

But Robby Mook, the Clinton campaign manager, said this week that the hacks didn’t hit the campaign itself, and that’s because the campaign conducted regular security training for staffers, including sending them fake phishing emails to see how they’d be handled.

“We sent out phishing emails of our own to test people and communicate back to team to see how far they were clicking, to educate people, and show their vulnerability and how much their choices matter,” Mook told Dark Reading, a cybersecurity news website, while attending an information security conference in San Francisco.

Mook said there were at least three phishing tests sent out to staffers, and there were also regular emails sent to staff preaching good IT practices. There were signs in the bathrooms “about not sharing passwords and ‘Don’t clink that link, stop and think,'” Mook said.

The Dark Reading piece doesn’t address when the training took place or whether Podesta and his aides were involved. Podesta and Mook did not respond to requests for comment about the IT training during the campaign.

A phishing attack is an attempt to trick a victim into giving up personal information, including logins for email accounts, bank accounts, and other sensitive information. In Podesta’s case, hackers sent a phony warning from Google alerting him that his Gmail password needed to be reset. According to the New York Times, a campaign IT staffer inadvertently advised Podesta and his aides that the warning was legitimate. By using the fake password reset page, Podesta gave the hackers access to his Gmail account and years’ worth of political communications that eventually found their way to WikiLeaks via the Russian operation, according to the US government.

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Clinton Campaign Sent Fake Phishing Emails to Its Own Staff

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Densifying cities could cut emissions more than doing energy retrofits on buildings.

At his final press conference on Wednesday, the president said that some issues — for example, “how concerned are we about air pollution or climate change” — are just part of the “normal back-and-forth, ebb-and-flow of policy.”

Other issues, though, might get him riled up enough to speak out after he leaves office. “[T]here’s a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake,” he said. He listed a few things that he would see as threats to those core values: “systematic discrimination,” “obstacles to people being able to vote,” “institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press,” and deportation of so-called Dreamers.

It sounded like an articulation of his priorities in the Trump era, and global warming didn’t make the cut. Likewise, in Obama’s farewell address last week, he mentioned climate change and clean energy, but his more passionate points were dedicated to sustaining a healthy democracy.

In September, Obama talked about focusing on climate change after he leaves office, but at that point, he thought Hillary Clinton would be succeeding him. Now that Donald Trump is moving into the Oval Office, Obama seems to be indicating that he’ll focus on other problems instead.

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Densifying cities could cut emissions more than doing energy retrofits on buildings.

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Trump’s pick for agriculture secretary believes you can pray drought away.

At his final press conference on Wednesday, the president said that some issues — for example, “how concerned are we about air pollution or climate change” — are just part of the “normal back-and-forth, ebb-and-flow of policy.”

Other issues, though, might get him riled up enough to speak out after he leaves office. “[T]here’s a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake,” he said. He listed a few things that he would see as threats to those core values: “systematic discrimination,” “obstacles to people being able to vote,” “institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press,” and deportation of so-called Dreamers.

It sounded like an articulation of his priorities in the Trump era, and global warming didn’t make the cut. Likewise, in Obama’s farewell address last week, he mentioned climate change and clean energy, but his more passionate points were dedicated to sustaining a healthy democracy.

In September, Obama talked about focusing on climate change after he leaves office, but at that point, he thought Hillary Clinton would be succeeding him. Now that Donald Trump is moving into the Oval Office, Obama seems to be indicating that he’ll focus on other problems instead.

Link to article – 

Trump’s pick for agriculture secretary believes you can pray drought away.

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Spy Agencies Say: Yeah, Russia Did It

Mother Jones

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The intelligence community released its unclassified assessment of Russian hacking activity today. However, anyone who was hoping to learn more about how they collected their information will be sorely disappointed. There’s none of that at all. It’s just a series of assessments, and you either believe them or you don’t.

If you want to read the whole report, we have it here. Oddly, it includes a lengthy annex about the actions of the RT television network, which is a public organ of Russian influence. But RT probably played virtually no role in the 2016 election. The real damage was done via email hacking, and helped along by anonymous twitter trolls who spread ugly anti-Hillary memes. Placing that much weight on RT really makes no sense, and I don’t know why they did it.

In any case, if you don’t want to read the whole thing, the executive summary is below. The intelligence community seems pretty sure that (a) Putin directed the influence campaign, (b) he did it to discredit Hillary Clinton, (c) Russian military intelligence carried out the hacking and relayed information to WikiLeaks, (d) they also hacked Republican sites but didn’t make any of it public, and (e) this all worked really well, so Russia will probably do it again.

Donald Trump, of course, brushed it all off. Minutes after meeting with the intelligence chiefs and hearing the classified version of all this, he released an obviously prewritten statement saying that lots of countries try to hack us; it had absolutely no effect on the election—zilch, Zero, NADA, NOTHING!; and from now on we shouldn’t talk about any of this publicly because we don’t want to give anything away to our enemies.

Seriously. That’s what he said.

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Spy Agencies Say: Yeah, Russia Did It

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The Lesson of 2016: Rabid Congressional Investigations Work

Mother Jones

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So what did we learn this year? That America is more susceptible to authoritarian populism than we thought? Not really. Trump’s victory was a fluke, driven by Russian hacking, James Comey, and some bad polls in a few states.

That racism is on the rise? There’s really no evidence of that.

That Democrats need to pay more attention to the white working class? Maybe, but no matter how many times people say otherwise, that really wasn’t a root cause of Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

I could go on, but instead I want to suggest something the 2016 election does teach us: persistent, obsessive investigations pay off. In the 90s, Republicans started investigating Whitewater. Even Ken Starr knew there was nothing to this after a couple of years, but he was put under pressure to keep at it, and eventually he hit some fluke paydirt: Monica Lewinsky. This had nothing to do with Whitewater, but who cares? Scandal is scandal, and it rubbed off enough on Al Gore that Republicans took back the presidency in 2000.

Fast forward to 2012. Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong related to Benghazi. That was clear pretty quickly, but Republicans kept at it. I laughed at them at the time, but they had the last laugh when they once again hit a fluke bit of paydirt: Clinton’s private email server. Clinton didn’t really do anything seriously wrong here either, but it didn’t matter. Republicans kept at it for the next year and a half, and that was enough to convince a lot of people that Clinton was, somehow, corrupt and untrustworthy. That allowed Republicans to retake the presidency.

There was lots of other stuff going on too, but this is now twice that maniacal dedication to an investigation has paid off for Republicans. It’s basically a way of hacking the media, which feels like it has no choice but to cover congressional investigations on a daily basis. It’s news, after all, no matter how you define news.

So that’s a lesson for sure. I’m just not sure what the solution is.

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The Lesson of 2016: Rabid Congressional Investigations Work

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