LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 19:  Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 42nd International Convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center on July 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clinton continues to campaign for the general election in November while the Republicans hold their national convention.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

What We Actually Know About the DNC Leak

After the infamous leak of almost 20,000 DNC emails and voice mails (many of which were damning to DNC party officials), accusations and denials have abounded regarding the parties responsible. The most common assertion is that Russian state-sponsored spies were involved in the cyber attack, which found that located a backdoor to the DNC’s servers.

“The consensus that Russia hacked the DNC is at this point very strong, albeit not unanimous,” noted cybersecurity consultant Matt Tait. “The consensus that Russia hacked the DNC in support of Trump is, by contrast, plausible, but something for which the jury at this stage is very much still out.”

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The Kremlin has vehemently denied the accusations of Russian government involvement in the illegal intrusion into the DNC servers, but the Clinton campaign has rallied behind the narrative, even going so far as to suggest that the Russian government carried out the attack in support of Donald Trump’s candidacy.

Russian officials and ambassadors have called the accusations “surprisingly childish” and “anti-Russian”, and many watchful citizens have cautioned that the Russian accusations may be an attempt to distract people from what the emails reveal.

Since everyone involved in the conflict is expressing their opinion as fact, here’s an article about what we actually do know about the attack at this moment.

First of all, it occurred in June. Network security agent CrowdStrike reported that two hacking groups had accessed the server and that it looked like the work of two competing Russian intelligence agencies. The next day, a Romanian hacker calling himself Guccifer 2.0 claimed credit for the breach and leaked DNC documents to American media outlets. It was also in June that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed to have “emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication.”

On July 22, those emails were released to the public via WikiLeaks, right before the beginning of the Democratic National Convention, which started on July 25th.

The evidence put forward in concluding that Russian spies were involved in the attack is as follows:

trillaryCrowdStrike noted that the tactics used by the hacker closely resembled those used by two Russian intelligence groups known as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear. Cybersecurity experts have also publicly suspected that Guccifer 2.0 is no the Romanian lone hacker that he says he is; many believe that the hacker is acting as a decoy to deflect attention from Russia.

The New York Times reported that intelligence agencies have “high confidence” regarding the Russian government’s involvement in the involvement of Russian state-sponsored hackers in the attack, though the US has not publicly named the suspected perpetrators.

According to Brookings Institute fellow and former lawyer for the National Security Agency Susan Hennessey, these government agencies have likely corroborated evidence gathered from technical, human and financial sources to piece together the crime.

“Added together, the most logical inference is that the Russians gave the documents to Wikileaks,” Hennessey posited. “Circumstantial, yes, but strong enough to be the operating assumption for the intelligence community.”

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has worked with Russian entities before, and there is apparently no evidence that anyone other than Russian hacked the DNC.

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