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BOSTON (AP) — Russian interference has been minimal so far in the most tempestuous U.S. presidential election in decades. But that doesn’t mean the Kremlin can’t inflict serious damage. The vulnerability of state and local government networks is a big worry.

One troubling wildcard is the potential for the kind of ransomware attacks now affecting U.S. hospitals. Russian-speaking cybercriminals are demanding ransoms to unscramble data they’ve locked up. It’s uncertain whether they are affiliated with the Kremlin or if the attacks are timed to coincide with the election.


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U.S. officials said Thursday that Russian hackers have targeted the networks of dozens of state and local governments in the United States in recent days, stealing data from at least two servers. The warning, less than two weeks before the election, amplified fears of the potential for tampering with the vote and undermining confidence in the results.

The advisory from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency describes an onslaught of recent activity by a Russian state-sponsored hacking group against a broad range of networks, some of which were successfully compromised.


Reuters | Equities.com |

U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said on Wednesday that Russia and Iran have both tried to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.

Ratcliffe made the announcements at a hastily arranged news conference that also included FBI Director Chris Wray.

The announcement two weeks before the election showed the level of alarm among top U.S. officials that foreign actors were seeking to undermine Americans’ confidence in the integrity of the vote and spread misinformation in an attempt to sway its outcome.


Reuters | Equities.com |

Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday it had disabled more than 90% of the machines used by a gang of Russian-speaking cyber criminals to control a massive network of computers with a potential to disrupt the U.S. election.

Aided by a series of U.S. court orders and relationships with technology providers in other countries, Microsoft said it its weeklong campaign against the gang running the Trickbot network was heading off a possible source of disruption to the Nov. 3 U.S. vote.


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A trio of space travelers blasted off to the International Space Station on Wednesday, using for the first time a fast-track maneuver that allowed them to reach the orbiting outpost in just a little over three hours.

NASA’s Kate Rubins along with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled Wednesday morning from the Russia-leased Baikonur space launch facility in Kazakhstan for a six-month stint on the ...


Reuters | Equities.com |

Facebook Inc on Thursday said it had dismantled three networks of fake accounts which could be used by Russia's intelligence services to leak hacked documents as part of efforts to disrupt the upcoming U.S. election.

The company said the accounts, which it suspended for using fake identities and other types of “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” were linked to Russian intelligence and people associated with a St. Petersburg-based organ...


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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been released from a Berlin hospital after more than a month’s treatment for poisoning, with doctors now believing that it’s possible he could see a “complete recovery” from the Soviet-era nerve agent, the hospital said Wednesday.

Navalny spent 32 days at Berlin’s Charite hospital, 24 of them in intensive care, before doctors deemed his “condition had improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care.” He will remain in Germany for the time being to continue his rehabilitation, his team said.

As he was released Tuesday, the 44-year-old displayed his characteristic sarcastic sense of humor. In an Instagram post, he took swipe at Russian President Vladimir Putin, scoffing at reported comments by the Russian leader suggesting that Navalny might have intentionally poisoned himself.


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Adam Schiff was in the audience at the 2018 Aspen Security Forum when a Microsoft executive mentioned an attempted hacking of three politicians up for reelection. It was the first that Schiff, then the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, had ever heard of it.

Schiff said he thought it was “odd” that Congress hadn’t been briefed. He got in touch with high-ranking officials in the intelligence agencies, and they ...


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The Trump administration on Thursday charged a Russian national in a sweeping plot to sow distrust in the American political process and also imposed sanctions against a Ukrainian lawmaker accused of interfering in the U.S. presidential election in November.

The criminal charges accuse Artem Mikhaylovich Lifshits of stealing American identities to open fraudulent banking accounts and promote messaging aimed at undermining confidence in the political system. The plot calls to mind the foreign influence in 2016 described by special counsel Robert Mueller, who charged Russian nationals with stirring up discord on divisive social issues.


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A Department of Homeland Security official said in a whistleblower complaint released Wednesday that he was pressured by more senior officials to suppress facts in intelligence reports that President Donald Trump might find objectionable, including information about Russian interference in the election and the rising threat posed by white supremacists.

The official, Brian Murphy, alleged that senior DHS officials also pressed him to alter reports so they would reflect administration policy goals and that he was demoted for refusing to go along with the changes and for filing confidential internal complaints about the conduct.

Murphy, a former FBI agent and Marine Corps veteran, was demoted in August from his post as principal deputy under secretary in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. He is seeking to be reinstated in a complaint filed with the DHS Office of Inspector General.