By: Denise Simon | FoundersCode.com
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a Joint Analysis Report (JAR) that details Russian malicious cyber activity, designated as GRIZZLY STEPPE. This activity by Russian civilian and military intelligence services (RIS) is part of an ongoing campaign of cyber-enabled operations directed at the U.S. government and private sector entities.
DHS recommends that network administrators review the Security Publication for more information and implement the recommendations provided.
Barack Obama says US shutting down two Russian compounds in Maryland and New York and declaring 35 Russian intelligence operatives “persona non grata.”
Issuance of Amended Executive Order 13694; Cyber-Related Sanctions Designations
Today, the President issued an Executive Order Taking Additional Steps To Address The National Emergency With Respect To Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities. This amends Executive Order 13694, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.” E.O. 13694 authorized the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities determined to be responsible for or complicit in malicious cyber-enabled activities that result in enumerated harms that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States. The authority has been amended to also allow for the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities determined to be responsible for tampering, altering, or causing the misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions. Five entities and four individuals are identified in the Annex of the amended Executive Order and will be added to OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List). OFAC today is designating an additional two individuals who also will be added to the SDN List.
Specially Designated Nationals List Update
The following individual has been added to OFAC’s SDN List:
ALEXSEYEV, Vladimir Stepanovich; DOB 24 Apr 1961; Passport 100115154 (Russia); First Deputy Chief of GRU (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE).
BELAN, Aleksey Alekseyevich (a.k.a. Abyr Valgov; a.k.a. BELAN, Aleksei; a.k.a. BELAN, Aleksey Alexseyevich; a.k.a. BELAN, Alexsei; a.k.a. BELAN, Alexsey; a.k.a. “Abyrvaig”; a.k.a. “Abyrvalg”; a.k.a. “Anthony Anthony”; a.k.a. “Fedyunya”; a.k.a. “M4G”; a.k.a. “Mag”; a.k.a. “Mage”; a.k.a. “Magg”; a.k.a. “Moy.Yawik”; a.k.a. “Mrmagister”), 21 Karyakina St., Apartment 205, Krasnodar, Russia; DOB 27 Jun 1987; POB Riga, Latvia; nationality Latvia; Passport RU0313455106 (Russia); alt. Passport 0307609477 (Russia) (individual) [CYBER2].
BOGACHEV, Evgeniy Mikhaylovich (a.k.a. BOGACHEV, Evgeniy Mikhailovich; a.k.a. “Lastik”; a.k.a. “lucky12345”; a.k.a. “Monstr”; a.k.a. “Pollingsoon”; a.k.a. “Slavik”), Lermontova Str., 120-101, Anapa, Russia; DOB 28 Oct 1983 (individual) [CYBER2].
GIZUNOV, Sergey (a.k.a. GIZUNOV, Sergey Aleksandrovich); DOB 18 Oct 1956; Passport 4501712967 (Russia); Deputy Chief of GRU (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE).
KOROBOV, Igor (a.k.a. KOROBOV, Igor Valentinovich); DOB 03 Aug 1956; nationality Russia; Passport 100119726 (Russia); alt. Passport 100115101 (Russia); Chief of GRU (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE).
KOSTYUKOV, Igor (a.k.a. KOSTYUKOV, Igor Olegovich); DOB 21 Feb 1961; Passport 100130896 (Russia); alt. Passport 100132253 (Russia); First Deputy Chief of GRU (individual) [CYBER2] (Linked To: MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE).
The following entities have been added to OFAC’s SDN List:
AUTONOMOUS NONCOMMERCIAL ORGANIZATION PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DESIGNERS OF DATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS (a.k.a. ANO PO KSI), Prospekt Mira D 68, Str 1A, Moscow 129110, Russia; Dom 3, Lazurnaya Ulitsa, Solnechnogorskiy Raion, Andreyevka, Moscow Region 141551, Russia; Registration ID 1027739734098 (Russia); Tax ID No. 7702285945 (Russia) [CYBER2].
FEDERAL SECURITY SERVICE (a.k.a. FEDERALNAYA SLUZHBA BEZOPASNOSTI; a.k.a. FSB), Ulitsa Kuznetskiy Most, Dom 22, Moscow 107031, Russia; Lubyanskaya Ploschad, Dom 2, Moscow 107031, Russia [CYBER2].
MAIN INTELLIGENCE DIRECTORATE (a.k.a. GLAVNOE RAZVEDYVATEL’NOE UPRAVLENIE (Cyrillic: ГЛАВНОЕ РАЗВЕДЫВАТЕЛЬНОЕ УПРАВЛЕНИЕ); a.k.a. GRU; a.k.a. MAIN INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT), Khoroshevskoye Shosse 76, Khodinka, Moscow, Russia; Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, Frunzenskaya nab., 22/2, Moscow 119160, Russia [CYBER2].
SPECIAL TECHNOLOGY CENTER (a.k.a. STC, LTD), Gzhatskaya 21 k2, St. Petersburg, Russia; 21-2 Gzhatskaya Street, St. Petersburg, Russia; Website stc-spb.ru; Email Address email@example.com; Tax ID No. 7802170553 (Russia) [CYBER2].
ZORSECURITY (f.k.a. ESAGE LAB; a.k.a. TSOR SECURITY), Luzhnetskaya Embankment 2/4, Building 17, Office 444, Moscow 119270, Russia; Registration ID 1127746601817 (Russia); Tax ID No. 7704813260 (Russia); alt. Tax ID No. 7704010041 (Russia) [CYBER2].
One announcement came from Berlin. Another came from Washington. And they came weeks apart.
German intelligence warned in late November that Russia had launched a campaign to meddle in upcoming elections to the Bundestag. And in early December, the CIA said it concluded that Moscow had already interfered in the U.S. presidential election.
In any other year, either of these claims would probably have been astonishing, sensational, and even mind-blowing.
Not in 2016.
This was the year such things became routine as the Kremlin took the gloves off in its nonkinetic guerrilla war against the West.
It was the year Russia’s long-standing latent support for the xenophobic and Euroskeptic far right became manifest, open, and increasingly brazen.
It was the year cyberattacks moved beyond trolling and disruption and toward achieving specific political goals.
It was the year long-cultivated networks of influence across the West were activated.
It was the year the Kremlin expanded its disinformation campaign beyond Ukraine and the former Soviet space and aimed it at destabilizing the West itself.
It was the year Moscow turned Western democracy into a weapon — against Western democracy.
And most importantly, with the West suffering from one of its worst crises of confidence in generations, 2016 was the year Moscow began to see results.
It was the year of the perfect storm, when the Western angst and malaise from the 2008 financial crisis, the eurozone crisis, and the migrant crisis crested and dovetailed with a concerted Kremlin campaign to undermine Western institutions.
And with the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, with the election of Donald Trump in the United States, with one pro-Moscow candidate or another likely to win the presidency in France, and with antiestablishment populism on the rise throughout Europe, this perfect storm has produced a markedly more favorable environment for the goals of Vladimir Putin’s autocratic regime.
It has left the independence of countries seeking to escape Moscow’s orbit — like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova — more precarious than at any moment since the Soviet collapse.
Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, wrote recently in The Atlantic that the Kremlin has launched “an opportunistic but sophisticated campaign to sabotage democracy and bend it toward his interests, not just in some marginal, fragile places but at the very core of the liberal democratic order, Europe and the United States.”
“We stand now at the most dangerous moment for liberal democracy since the end of World War II,” Diamond added.
An Early Harbinger
The warnings that 2016 would be different came early, in January, when Moscow escalated its information war against the West with the infamous case of Lisa F. in Germany.
By relentlessly pushing a false story that an ethnic-Russian teenage girl was sexually assaulted by migrants in Berlin at a time when Germans were getting increasingly nervous about the mounting migrant crisis, the Kremlin appeared to be actively attempting to undermine the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Incited by Russian-language media reports, thousands of Russian-speaking protesters took to the streets carrying banners with slogans like “Our Children Are In Danger.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gave the “scandal” an official stamp, accusing the German authorities of “sweeping problems under the rug.”
The story was soon proven false, but the damage was done — and a message was sent that the Kremlin intended to play hardball.
And play hardball it did, with a dizzying and almost nonstop barrage of hacking, doxing, fake news, support for fringe political forces, and other mischief.
The most high-profile example of this, of course, was the emerging consensus that Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election with the apparent goal of harming Hillary Clinton and/or helping Trump.
But while the hacking of the U.S. election garnered the most attention and headlines, it was far from the only case of Russia seeking to destabilize Western democracies.
“Putin is not done yet. He seeks to promote anti-establishment candidates in next year’s elections in the Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany,” Michael Khodarkovsky, a professor at Loyola University Chicago and author of the forthcoming book Russia’s Twentieth Century, wrote in The New York Times.
And Then We Take Berlin
In a letter to EU foreign-relations chief Federica Mogherini, 51 lawmakers from the European Parliament warned that more than $200 million of Russian black cash has been laundered through Europe and “there is information that shows that the money has been used to influence European politics, media, and civil society.”
In the United Kingdom, Russia’s propaganda machine worked overtime to cheerlead for the Brexit campaign and its leader Nigel Farage.
In Italy, Kremlin-funded news outlets RT and Sputnik fed a barrage of fake news to a network of websites run by the far left Five Star Movement, spreading Euroskepticism, and anti-Americanism, and undermining a constitutional referendum that led to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s resignation.
The Kremlin also continued to support Marine Le Pen, leader of the anti-immigrant National Front in France which was granted a 9 million euro loan from a Russian bank in 2015.
And Le Pen’s likely opponent in the second round of next year’s presidential elections, former prime minister Francois Fillon, is also openly pro-Moscow.
And in December, the ruling United Russia party signed a cooperation agreement with Austria’s far-right Freedom Party.
“Despite being much weaker than the Soviet Union, Russia today nevertheless has a greater ability to provoke mischief than the communist empire ever did, while western debates on how to contain (or engage) Russia have an air of helplessness,” political analyst Lilia Shevtsova wrote in The Financial Times.
The legacy of 2016 is a weakened, divided, and disillusioned West; and an emboldened Kremlin.
“If December 7, 1941, is a date which will live in infamy,” Brian Frydenborg wrote on the blog War Is Boring, in reference to the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, “then 2016 is a year which will live in infamy.”