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Russian Hack Likely Done by Super Computer Virus

Image of voting booths
Image of voting booths | Getty Images

After a thorough investigation, I have come to a preliminary conclusion regarding the hacking of the 2016 election. There is still a lot of additional documentation to go through and more research to be done to tell the entire story. It is only a matter of time before the full answer is given.

I’m going to try to draw this out in a better/more concise story later, but this information needs to get out now – and this is how I think a hack of the 2016 election could have happened – and there is plenty of evidence to prove these claims:

DNC Attack

On June 14, the DNC acknowledged a hack.

Arizona

In late June, Arizona took its election systems offline for 9 days after discovering a malicious virus on a county election official’s computer.

Illinois

On July 12, the Illinois State Board of Elections computer systems were infiltrated and they posted the information online related to how the event had used form fields to gain access to sensitive information using SQL injection.

The government complained that “hacking tools” had been stolen and issued an alert on August 18, 2016.

Many people attribute the design of the “hacking tools” to a consortium called The Equation Group which techies believe is the NSA. Some of the details on this information was apparently found in some documents which Snowden leaked thus MATCHING The Equation Group with the NSA.

Kaspersky

Kaspersky, a Russian Cybersecurity firm, identified that the “hacking tools [were] believed to belong to a group of malware developed by The Equation Group which was first revealed by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky in 2015.”

Interestingly enough, Kaspersky works closely with Russian intelligence officials. In an article written by Bloomberg in 2015, the writer explains:

Unless Kaspersky is traveling, he rarely misses a weekly banya (sauna) night with a group of about 5 to 10 that usually includes Russian intelligence officials.

Hacking Tools and The Shadow Brokers

These hacking tools were taken by The Shadow Brokers, who repeatedly posted messages asking for money for their stolen hacking tools on August 28. Remember, they wanted to be paid in Bitcoin? A group Snowden attributes to Russian Intelligence Officials:

The stolen tools have the capability of installing the virus while completely disguising themselves and can be transferred using removable storage such as a USB stick or other removable media containers such as a memory card or microSD.

On October 30, The Shadow Brothers issued a final warning. The message online contained the following statement:

TheShadowBrokers is having suggestion. On November 8th, instead of not voting, maybe be stopping the vote all together? Maybe being grinch who stopped election from coming? Maybe hacking election is being the best idea? #hackelection2016.

Undoubtedly, an ominous warning.

Florida – Again?

Florida’s votes didn’t count? Again? On October 12, 2016, the Sunshine State News reported that an election system contractor had been affected by the virus. The FBI and DHS were so concerned about the event that they held two conferences with 67 counties describing the attack and measures to repair the attack. Despite this report, the Secretary of State denied there was anything wrong with the system. What measures were taken to resolve the issue? Why was there such a denial?

DDOS, Bot Networks, and Prior to Voting Day Issues

DDOS attacks are those which overwhelm a computer with repeated requests over and over until the server/computer shuts down. Bot networks can infiltrate massive numbers of servers/computers over many networks. The hacking tools discussed above had the ability to both bypass firewalls and inject malicious viruses everywhere. These tools could have been used to hit many different servers/computers across the country in the places where election workers were unwittingly harboring a virus.

There is no need for voting machines to be connected to the internet to get infected

Prior to election day, voting officials across the country inserted removable media such as memory cards, USBs, or microSD cards into voting machines. As discussed prior, USB or removable media viruses can be transferred using the above hacking tools when the voting officials uploaded candidate information into the system. There is no need for voting machines to be connected to the internet to get infectedAndrew Appel, a computer scientist at Princeton University explains:

To hack a voting machine remotely, you might think it has to be plugged in to the Internet.  Most voting machines are never plugged directly into the Internet.  But all voting machines must accept electronic input files from other computers: these “ballot definition files” tell the vote-counting program which candidates are on the ballot.

These files are transferred to the voting machine, before each election, by inserting a cartridge or memory card into the voting machine.  These cartridges are prepared on an Election Management System (EMS) computer.  If that computer is hacked, then it can prepare fraudulent ballot-definition cartridges.  Are those EMS computers ever connected to the Internet?  Most of them probably are…

The problem with the software is the corporate design, which was prone to vulnerability. Additionally, administration of the election process after finding out about the hack is problematic at best.

Election Day

On November 8th, Election Day 2016, an installed catastrophic malicious code, undetected by thousands of county computer and balloting systems, probably activated software in different places. This is the basis for the Supreme Court lawsuit requesting a re-vote of the 2016 election.

Investigation

Yesterday, Congress stated they will be moving forward with an investigation of Russian Hacking and Donald Trump stated he wanted to open an investigation on voter fraud.

Ruslan Stoyanov

Additionally, Ruslan Stoyanov, head of the investigation unit at Kaspersky and a specialist in DDOS protection and administration, was arrested and charged with high treason. Stoyanov has ties to Russian Intelligence. Russian Authorities cited his work with a previous company as a basis of his arrest and charge. At the very least, Stoyanov’s connections need to be fully investigated by U.S. officials prior to his summary trial and/or execution, so we can get the full truth about what might have happened with the 2016 Election. Perhaps there is no connection, but we need to be certain.

Open Source Software

Non-corporate controlled, open source software, advocated by the National Association of Voting Officials (NAVO) is the best solution to the problem going forward. Brent Turner, Secretary of NAVO explains that, depending on the timeline and political will, the system could accommodate for a re-vote.

Because of the various issues and facts outlined here as well as so many others demonstrated elsewhere about foreign compromise and hacking issues, there can be no doubt that a new election should be ordered by the Supreme Court. This is required by the Constitution — a document applicable to universal time… for which our founding fathers so craftily designed to address an issue such as this, which we could never have imagined possible.

Written by Ruben Major

Ruben Major

Ruben Major obtained his Juris Doctor from Concord Law School and Master’s Degree in Military History from Norwich University. He writes on politics, public safety, and Emergency Medical Services. He is also Editor-in-Chief of EMS Wire which is an online Public Safety/EMS blog/news service. Ruben is CEO of EMS University and has also served the community as an EMT/Paramedic for 15 years.

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