Hackers Came — The French Were Ready For Them
❝ Everyone saw the hackers coming…The National Security Agency in Washington picked up the signs. So did Emmanuel Macron’s bare-bones technology team. And mindful of what happened in the American presidential campaign, the team created dozens of false email accounts, complete with phony documents, to confuse the attackers.
❝ The Russians, for their part, were rushed and a bit sloppy, leaving a trail of evidence that was not enough to prove for certain they were working for the government of President Vladimir V. Putin but which strongly suggested they were part of his broader “information warfare” campaign…
But that outcome was hardly assured on Friday night, when what was described as a “massive” hacking attack suddenly put Mr. Macron’s electoral chances in jeopardy. To French and American officials, however, it was hardly a surprise.
❝ …The staff at Mr. Macron’s makeshift headquarters in the 15th Arrondissement at the edge of Paris didn’t need the N.S.A. to tell them they were being targeted: In December, after the former investment banker and finance minister had emerged as easily the most anti-Russian, pro-NATO and pro-European Union candidate in the presidential race, they began receiving phishing emails.
Even before then, the Macron campaign had begun looking for ways to make life a little harder for the Russians, showing a level of skill and ingenuity that was missing in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and at the Democratic National Committee, which had minimal security protections and for months ignored F.B.I. warnings that its computer system had been penetrated.
❝ “We went on a counteroffensive,” digital director, Mounir Mahjoubi said. “We couldn’t guarantee 100 percent protection” from the attacks, “so we asked: what can we do?” Mr. Mahjoubi opted for a classic “cyber-blurring” strategy, well known to banks and corporations, creating false email accounts and filled them with phony documents the way a bank teller keeps fake bills in the cash drawer in case of a robbery…
Mr. Mahjoubi refused to reveal the nature of the false documents that were created, or to say whether, in the Friday document dump that was the result of the hacking campaign, there were false documents created by the Macron campaign.
But he did note that in the mishmash that constituted the Friday dump, there were some authentic documents, some phony documents of the hackers’ own manufacture, some stolen documents from various companies, and some false emails created by the campaign.
❝ “It’s clear they were rushed,” Mr. Hultquist said. “If this was APT28,” he said, using the name for a Russian group believed to be linked to the GRU, a military intelligence agency, “they have been caught in the act, and it has backfired for them.”
Russian hackers were dealing with not only a better educated populace; but, a more sophisticated audience than American voters. LePen and her populist campaign had to walk away from the most backwards aspects of campaigns her father would have run twenty or thirty years ago. She could not substitute anti-Semitism for Trump’s anti-Mexican slurs – as her father would have.
Trump’s dalliance in misogynist assaults might have cynical appeal to fools in France – as they do in the United States. But, Trump’s contempt for physically-handicapped wouldn’t play – for example – in a nation where until recently public transport still reserved front seats for victims of war.
The French shrugged off Big Lies because they knew from experience what the population in general was gifted by populist liars – and their supporters, domestic or foreign.
How Russian cyberwar hackers invaded the U.S.
A filing cabinet broken into in 1972 as part of the Watergate burglary sits beside a computer server that Russian hackers breached during the 2016 presidential campaign
❝ When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.
His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government…
❝ Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for “the Dukes” and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks — in part because he wasn’t certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor…
❝ It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.
❝ Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin…instead of Republican President Richard Nixon.
RTFA. Journalism from the NY TIMES mostly unadulterated by editorial requirements. Well done tale of the level of cyber-ignorance common to much of our government, a significant chunk of the global corporate world.
A worthwhile read for you and me – long before the movie comes out. And it will.
Yes, Hillary, there really is a Hispanic voter surge
❝ Hispanic voters were largely credited with President Obama’s victory in 2012, but they weren’t as crucial as many believed. Mr. Obama didn’t even need to win the Hispanic vote to put him over the top, thanks to high black turnout and support among white voters in the North. The turnout among Hispanic voters didn’t surge, even though exit polls implied that it had.
This year, Hispanic voters, perhaps motivated by Donald J. Trump’s policy proposals (including deportation) and harsh language aimed at undocumented Hispanic immigrants, really might decide this election.
❝ Early voting data unequivocally indicates that Hillary Clinton will benefit from a long awaited surge in Hispanic turnout, vastly exceeding the Hispanic turnout from four years ago.
It’s too soon to say whether it will be decisive for her. The geographic distribution of Hispanic voters means that many of her gains will help her in noncompetitive states like Texas and California, not Michigan and Pennsylvania.
But the surge is real, and it’s big. It could be enough to overcome Mr. Trump’s strength among white-working class voters in the swing states of Florida and Nevada. If it does, it will almost certainly win her the election…
Lots of details for electoral politics wonks. When you live in a state where Hispanic ethnicity wavers forth-and-back over the 50% boundary you accept that issue-specific voting takes place. That’s fine. Here in northern New Mexico at least the memory of days when Democrats had the backbone for class warfare still counts at election time.
So does voter turnout. Not so unusual to see 50% turnout in primaries. At least Democrat primaries, here. Presidential elections often turn out 60-70% of registered voters. Better than average US numbers.
Cartoon: single issue NRA
Paddy Power paying off for a Hillary Clinton victory over Trump
❝ Paddy Power, an Irish betting market with a large presence in the UK, has already declared a winner of the US presidential election.
The market said Tuesday that it is paying out more than $1 million worth of bets on the Democratic nominee because it looks as though Clinton has sealed a win over Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“With national polls showing a healthy lead for the Democratic candidate and Donald Trump’s campaign running into scandal after scandal, Paddy Power believes it’s a done deal and that Hillary is a nailed-on certainty to occupy the Oval Office,” Paddy Power said in a statement.
The move by the betting market comes as Clinton’s odds have edged up in most models, including hitting 85% on the data site FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus model and 91% on The New York Times’ Upshot model. She has also expanded her lead in national polls to an average of 6.9 points, according to RealClearPolitics.
❝ The betting market saw a similar decrease in probability for Trump.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of gamblers. If I could access them legally – even though I’ve rarely wagered more than a dollar on anything – I’d place occasional bets with Paddy Power.
Trump has sex with chair while Hillary answers question
Cartoon: different demographics have different standards
Another stodgy conservative newspaper just endorsed Hillary Clinton — their first Dem since Woodrow Wilson in 1916
The last Democrat endorsed by the Cincinnati ENQUIRER
❝ The last time the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed a Democrat for president, the paper picked Woodrow Wilson as its choice in the 1916 presidential election. It’s been a long time.
Now Donald Trump has broken the streak. The Enquirer is joining other very conservative editorial pages in endorsing Hillary Clinton, calling Trump “a clear and present danger to our country.”
❝ While other typically conservative editorial boards have made clear that they’re holding their noses in endorsing Clinton as the only realistic alternative to Trump, the Enquirer’s endorsement is slightly more positive, describing her as a clearheaded pragmatist who can build coalitions and govern effectively. The board’s views on Trump are scathing:
Trump brands himself as an outsider untainted by special interests, but we see a man utterly corrupted by self-interest. His narcissistic bid for the presidency is more about making himself great than America. Trump tears our country and many of its people down with his words so that he can build himself up. What else are we left to believe about a man who tells the American public that he alone can fix what ails us?
❝ Even more surprising than the Enquirer breaking its streak, though, is that it actually might make a difference. Research has found that when newspapers break with tradition, readers take it seriously. And unlike the other two solidly Republican newspapers that have refused to endorse Trump so far — the Dallas Morning News and the New Hampshire Union Leader — the Enquirer is in a swing state.
❝ …Unusual endorsements like this might matter precisely because it’s not what readers expected to hear. Newspaper endorsements change the most minds when they break with the usual pattern to endorse a candidate of the other party.
So far, not a single major daily newspaper has endorsed Trump – and that’s especially important in conservative bailiwicks. Newspapers have a tough enough time staying alive in the age of digital media. Conservative newspapers stay alive only because of support from conservative readers.
That means my average peer – some old fart in East Overshoe, Ohio – still cares enough for old media and old-fashioned means of acquiring news to read and relate to a conservative newspaper like the Enquirer. He or she is also more likely to regard that editorial opinion as something of value.