Leaked Snowden Document Hints At Why Feds Are So Sure of Russia’s Hacking

By Mary Papenfuss, The Huffington Post:

U.S. intelligence officials appear certain that Russia was responsible for interfering in the presidential election — though they haven’t fully detailed how they know. But a classified document leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden reveals that they’ve tracked Russian hacking before and that the information they gleaned may have helped this time around.

Russian hacking also occurred in the case of Russian journalist and American citizen Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down in 2006 in her Moscow apartment after writing articles critical of the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Five men were convicted of her murder, but it’s still a mystery who ordered the killing.

A year before she was murdered, Politkovskaya’s email was hacked by Russian intelligence using malicious software not publicly available, according to an NSA document leaked by Snowden to The Intercept. Not only does the document reveal that U.S. intelligence knew about the hacking of Politkovskaya’s email, it also shows that the NSA is adept at tracking cyberattacks by Russian intelligence.

The classified internal NSA entry indicates that the NSA was able to use “intercept signals” to pinpoint the source of the attack. The attacks on Politkovskaya’s email account resemble the hacks of Democratic National Committee emails during the campaign that were damaging to Hillary Clinton, and the NSA could have used the same tactics to track the source as it did in Politkovskaya’s case. 

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