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Wed Nov 13, 2019, 12:31 PM

Russian hackers who stole DNC emails failed at social media. WikiLeaks helped.

Related: Potemkin Pages & Personas: Assessing GRU Online Operations, 2014-2019 (Stanford Internet Observatory)


Source: Washington Post

Russian hackers who stole DNC emails failed at social media. WikiLeaks helped.

By Craig Timberg
11/12/2019, 10:19:00 p.m.

The Russian military hackers who stole tens of thousands of sensitive Democratic Party documents in 2016 struggled to disseminate their bounty online — at least until anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks joined the effort, according to a report released Tuesday night.

The report, prepared by analyzing data Facebook provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, found that the Russian military hackers sought to publicize the documents as early as June 14 that year through a post on Facebook that said, “Check restricted documents leaked from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign staff,” and provided a link to an online trove. But despite the potentially explosive contents, the post on the “DCLeaks” page generated just 11 “likes,” 17 shares and zero comments.

Direct messages to American journalists, made through a fictitious Twitter persona called Guccifer 2.0, generated a spate of news coverage soon after. But that was modest compared to the deluge that came five weeks later, on July 22, when WikiLeaks published the documents and tweeted a link to its 3.2 million followers.

The revelations from the stolen documents, many of which were embarrassing emails showing party officials appearing to favor Clinton over her rival for the presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, soon spread widely enough to prompt the Democratic chairwoman to resign on the eve of the party’s national convention.

The hacking campaign’s outreach efforts, executed by the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU, underscore how marrying stolen documents with sophisticated social media outreach can generate outsize results. It also underscored the unwitting role American journalists played in a Russian intelligence operation to interfere in a U.S. election.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/russian-hackers-who-stole-dnc-emails-failed-at-social-media-wikileaks-helped/2019/11/12/751690ae-0580-11ea-a5e2-fccc16fa3576_story.html

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