Putin’s Internet Adviser: We Didn’t Hack DNC, Maybe They Had a Stupid Password

Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Everyone is getting snarky these days, including the Russians. Responding to allegations that Russian government hackers broke into the Democratic National Committee’s server and stole their opposition research file on Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin’s Internet adviser, German Klimenko, said maybe the Democrats just had a really stupid password that was easy for anyone to crack.

“Usually these kinds of leaks take place not because hackers broke in, but, as any professional will tell you, because someone simply forgot the password or set the simple password 123456,” said Putin adviser Klimenko, as quoted by the Washington Post. “Well, it’s always simpler to explain this away as the intrigues of enemies, rather than one’s own incompetence.”

“I absolutely rule out the possibility that the government or government agencies were involved in this,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, with considerably less sarcasm.

Former Russian military officer Dmitri Trenin, now director of the Carnegi Moscow Center, told the Washington Post that the Russians are generally dismissive of cyber-crime allegations, with state media scarcely bothering to report the DNC caper. He doubted Russia’s government hackers would consider the DNC system a target worthy of their attention.

Moscow political analyst Fyodor Lukyanov added that, in his opinion, the Russian elite see Trump as “potentially a better partner” than Hillary Clinton and would be unlikely to launch a cyber attack that could “electrify the campaign of the Democratic candidate.”

Trump accused the DNC of hacking themselves as a publicity stunt, to “distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader.”

The evidence advanced to support this theory includes the lack of startling or damaging information in the oppo file — it is basically a big Google search, with even the UK Guardian’s “six most interesting details” consisting of five readily available public statements Trump has made over the past fifteen years, plus a Democratic strategy memo suggesting the campaign theme that Trump “has no core,” which is not a very interesting observation and maybe is not a theme that people pushing the robotic Hillary Clinton should be harping on.

There has been a claim of responsibility for the DNC hack, made in a blog post from someone billing themselves as “Guccifer 2.0” — a shout-out to the Romanian hacker who claims to have raided Hillary Clinton’s infamous email server full of classified documents.

Ars Technica reports that Guccifer 2.0 claims to be a “lone wolf” unconnected to any government.

“Worldwide known cyber security company CrowdStrike announced that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers had been hacked by ‘sophisticated hacker groups.’ I’m very pleased the company appreciated my skills so highly))) But in fact, it was easy, very easy,” the hacker wrote, giving him- or herself a hearty pat on the back. Alas, the post did not disclose whether German Klimenko’s theory was correct and the DNC’s password was “123456.”

CrowdStrike is the name of the security company that fingered the Russian government for the break-in. The company responded to Guccifer 2.0’s claims by saying it “stands fully by its analysis and findings identifying two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016.”

CrowdStrike went on to suggest that the Guccifer 2.0 blog post could have been part of a “Russian Intelligence disinformation campaign.”

Ars Technica notes that in addition to the Trump oppo material, the hacker dumped a pile of authentic-looking spreadsheets about Democratic donors… and a document purportedly swiped from Hillary Clinton’s email server.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.