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US intelligence companies dispute that Guccifer is only one particular person

Who or what’s Guccifer US intelligence companies imagine the mysterious hacker persona was central to efforts to intervene with final 12 months’s American election and accountable for distributing hacked paperwork that embarrassed the Democratic Occasion. However now Guccifer has damaged a two-month silence to disclaim any connection to Russia. Within the run as much as Donald Trump’s victory, BBC Trending’s Mike Wendling struck up a web based dialogue with Guccifer to attempt to probe the hacker’s motives.

It turned out that speaking to one of many world’s most infamous hackers was simpler than you would possibly suppose. Simply ship him a tweet.

In the summertime of 2016 the hacker, going by the title Guccifer, leaked a trove of paperwork from the Democratic Nationwide Committee (DNC) to Wikileaks, which then made the fabric public.

The revelations had been embarrassing for the Democrats and the Hillary Clinton marketing campaign, and resulted within the resignation of party chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz.

Though Guccifer took his title from a Romanian hacker – the unique Guccifer hacked emails belonging to American and Romanian officials, and is at the moment in jail – suspicion instantly fell on Russia.

Metadata connected to the leaked paperwork was in Russian not Romanian. Analysts decided that Guccifer had used a Russian server. A number of safety consultants traced the leak to Russian intelligence.

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a journalist with Vice’s Motherboard, chatted with the hacker in Romanian within the days after the DNC hack. The issue was, Guccifer did not appear to talk the language very properly.

“He did reply some questions in Romanian,” however the solutions had been very fundamental, Franceschi-Bicchierai advised BBC Trending.

“I confirmed these solutions to individuals who did converse Romanian and so they all agreed he wasn’t a Romanian speaker,” Franceschi-Bicchierai says. “We later put the dialog to linguists and never everybody agreed that he was a Russian speaker however he was positively not a local Romanian speaker.”

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Throughout our exchanges in October – and till the current day – Guccifer continued to disclaim having something to do with Russia.

He additionally claimed to have extra incriminating paperwork on Hillary Clinton – paperwork which he urged me to publish.

The data was despatched to me through encrypted e mail. However regardless of the cloak-and-dagger presentation, the fabric was in the end disappointing – a mishmash of previous tales, publically out there paperwork which had been fairly boring, and others which had been apparent forgeries.

I requested him about his motivations. He stated he believed that folks have the precise to know what is going on on within the election course of.

Attempting to get pleasant journalists to put in writing sympathetic tales is a standard tactic of Russia’s on-line intelligence operations, says Lee Foster of FireEye, one of many large pc safety corporations which has been trying into the Guccifer hacks.

“That is truly one thing that we have coined ‘direct advocacy’,” Foster says. “These false hactivists attain out to journalists but additionally different people, safety blogs, and so forth to get them to publicise the exercise that they have been engaged in and generally even to spin specific narratives round these leaks as properly.”

Foster says he is extremely assured that the Russian authorities are behind the Guccifer persona. For its half, Moscow denies being behind the leaks, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks says Russia wasn’t the supply of the leaked DNC emails.

I requested Guccifer about Russia.

After that, he stopped responding to my messages.

Within the run-up to the US election in November, Guccifer warned that the Democrats would try to rig the vote. However after Donald Trump’s victory, he went silent.

Final week US intelligence chiefs launched a declassified version of a report which has been offered to President Obama and President-Elect Trump.

One of many report’s key judgements learn: “We assess with excessive confidence that Russian army intelligence (Common Workers Major Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer persona and to launch US sufferer knowledge obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media shops and relayed materials to WikiLeaks.”

It added: “Guccifer, who claimed to be an unbiased Romanian hacker, made a number of contradictory statements and false claims about his doubtless Russian identification all through the election. Press reporting suggests multiple individual claiming to be Guccifer interacted with journalists.”

So may there be a number of individuals concerned in working the Guccifer persona? Lee Foster from Fireeye believes so.

“It might be one one that truly takes care of the twitter account or it might be a part of a crew,” he advised Trending. “However what we definitely can say primarily based on the dimensions of the exercise that we’re seeing – that encompasses all the pieces from this preliminary breach throughout to the creation of those pretend personas to push the knowledge via to the trolling exercise attempting to push narratives round these leaks – this isn’t a one individual effort. There’s fairly clearly a concerted and really properly resourced and admittedly subtle operation that’s making all of these items come collectively.”

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Late on Thursday, Guccifer broke his two-month silence to reply to the US intelligence companies report. “Right here I’m once more, my pals!” he announced on his blog.

“I would wish to make it clear sufficient that these accusations are unfounded,” the hacker wrote. “I’ve completely no relation to the Russian authorities. I would wish to let you know as soon as once more I used to be performing in accordance with my private political opinions and beliefs.”

A number of observers famous that Guccifer’s English had markedly improved.

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Donald Trump has promised a full report on hacking within 90 days of taking workplace.

Lee Foster from Fireeye says we should not get too hung up on the Guccifer model.

“What would not actually matter right here is the personas themselves. What issues is to what extent does sort of exercise proceed and doubtlessly broaden as properly. We’re already on the trolling facet seeing a redirection in the direction of European elections arising, significantly France and Germany in 2017,” he says.

After the report, and his weblog re-emergence, I attempted as soon as extra to contact Guccifer on Twitter.

He hasn’t responded.

Weblog by Mike Wendling

Subsequent story: ‘Why I dropped the case against the man who groped me’

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