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The Daily Vertical: Hacker Head Games (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

Amid all the excitement over Russia's apparent hacking of the Democratic National Committee's e-mail servers, one thing really jumped out at me.

According to a report by Reuters, some U.S. intelligence officials suspect that Russian hackers deliberately left behind digital fingerprints.

They wanted to be detected.

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And they wanted to be detected, officials suspect, in order to demonstrate to the world that Moscow is a cyberpower that should be respected.

One official put it as follows: "Either these guys were incredibly sloppy, in which case it’s not clear that they could have gotten as far as they did without being detected, or they wanted us to know that they were Russian."

So, in other words, Moscow's most brazen hack was, at least in part, a big psy-op.

And if it was, it appears to have worked.

Suddenly, for the first time since the Cold War, Russia is front and center in a U.S. election.

Suddenly, there are global headlines about the threat of Russian hackers.

Suddenly, there are alarmist reports in the media claiming that the Kremlin could hack voting machines and alter the results of elections in Western countries.

So, in this sense, the hacking is like the digital equivalent of Russian fighter jets violating Western airspace and buzzing Western ships and planes.

On one hand, it is a genuine security threat that needs to be taken seriously.

But on the other, it's a big head game.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

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