back to article China, Russia and Iran all attacking US elections and using some nasty new tactics, says Microsoft

Microsoft believes there have been extensive “cyberattacks targeting people and organizations involved in the upcoming presidential election,” and that foreign government hackers responsible for attacks ahead of the 2016 vote are back with new and nastier tactics. The Windows giant's corporate veep for Customer Security & …

  1. jgarbo
    Holmes

    Sorry for Laughing but...

    Microsoft+Security=Oxymoron. The "Russian hacks" of the US 2016 election servers, etc, was an inside job, clearly explained by former NSA boss Bill Binney. Frankly, since the Russians and Chinese already know the US has only one real party, why bother to sway either puppet? Better to follow the money to find the fiends.

    1. Mr Dogshit

      Re: Oxymoron

      You're the moron.

      1. Jurassic Hermit
        Thumb Down

        Re: Oxymoron

        No need for insults. That almost always indicates that a person has lost the arguement.

        I'm pretty sure that NSA boss Bill Binney knows what's been happening.

      2. An nonymous Cowerd

        Re: Oxymoron

        persona? Mr doodoo, 77th??

    2. tfb Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Sorry for Laughing but...

      You mean the Bill Binney who

      has been a frequent guest on RT and Fox News and has been frequently cited on Breitbart News. In November 2017, it was reported that a month earlier, Binney had met with CIA Director Mike Pompeo at the behest of President Trump.

      (From his Wikipedia entry.)

      He certainly sounds very reliable and unbiased, doesn't he? We can definitely trust him, because he's certainly not either being paid by the Russians or being fooled by them.

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Sorry for Laughing but...

      Former NSA boss Bill Binney, who left in 2001, and had his security clearances revoked in 2007, forcing the closure of his business and source of income?

      I'm sure he's got neither a grudge nor a financial motive for saying things and getting on TV...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This could al be avoided

    by uninstalling Windows and installing Linux instead.

    1. wolfetone
      Trollface

      Re: This could al be avoided

      Could we not just uninstall America and be done with it instead?

    2. tfb Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: This could al be avoided

      Except it couldn't. It looks like most of these attacks are looking for credentials on people's email systems. If your password is 'Bor1s' they're going to get you whatever the OS you're using is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This could al be avoided

        If your password is 'Bor1s'

        Phwaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!

        How did you know my password? Tell me now my good man or I shall be obliged to set Dominic on you.

        Yours,

        10 Downing Street

      2. Dante Alighieri

        Re: This could al be avoided

        Ahem...

        YOUREFIRED

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: This could al be avoided

      As long as you have humans in the equation, it doesn't make any real difference.

      You can configure Linux to be just as vulnerable, if not more vulnerable than Windows, if you don't know what you are doing. Linux isn't a magic bullet to make things suddenly better, you still need to follow best practices in securing the installation and you still need to make sure the user doesn't fall for a phishing attempt and hand over the keys to the kingdom.

    4. Jurassic Hermit

      Re: This could al be avoided

      ...by sticking with the tried and tested method of paper and pen. Much more reliable.

    5. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: This could al be avoided

      You forgot the "Troll" icon.

      Just for fun, disclosed this week:

      https://www.suse.com/support/update/announcement/2020/suse-su-20202574-1/

      https://www.suse.com/support/update/announcement/2020/suse-su-20202575-1/

      https://ubuntu.com/security/notices/USN-4489-1

      ....

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Alien

    "We Believe..."

    “We also believe more federal funding is needed in the US so states can better protect their election infrastructure.

    which really means...

    "We must repell all nasty alien attemts to usurp our election process and we are the people who can do it. After all, our OS is in everyone's businsess and home and we can roll out fixes faster than Donald can comb his hair."

    or something like that.

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Cool!

    NK is quiet then.

    As if there was a need of external actors for the US and UK political scenes to be a mess! With the nasty clowns in charge in both countries, lies, deceptions and manipulations come from within anytime.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cool!

      Yup, MS is a again pointing external threats while *all* the actual threats are 100% internal.

      GOP and their puppet Trump is the major one.

    2. Whiskers

      But how or why did those defective leaders come to be chosen and elected? Something unprecedented seems to have happened to voters in the US and UK

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        @Whiskers

        "Something unprecedented seems to have happened to voters in the US and UK"

        We both seemed to be sick of being jerked around by slick politicians. Also it didnt help with the development of sjw's and snowflakes into academia and then the outside world.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        It's not really unprecedented or unique though is it. There's currently a sea-change going on in large chunks of global politics.

        So let's take a quick trot through Europe for an example. One of France's two main parties since the 70s (the Socialists) got 7% in the last Presidential election! And that's from having the sitting President to irrelevance in one day. So they actually polled less than one of the minor parties on the far left. France is now governed by President Macron and a brand new party that he created to support him (Republique en Marche) - which aligns with the Liberal Group in the European Parliament - not the socialist one). With the old centre right party in opposition but the main presidential candidate again coming from the far right Front National - although they changed their name after losing that election. But they'd also been the run-off challenger in 3 of the last 4 presidential elections.

        In Spain we've had a 2 party system since the 70s when the dictatorship ended. The socialists finally manged to cobble together a coalition after a couple of elections, but it's no longer a 2 party state with some minor regional parties as there are now 2 new boys on the scene polling not much less than the old main parties. Podemos on the far left and Ciudadanos who look more like liberal / centre right party.

        Italy has just been governed by a coalition of the 5Stars (less than a decade old and created by a TV comedian with a conviction for manslaughter) and the Lega Nord - which 15 years ago was a minor far right regional party. The Italian Socialists (main party since the war) were beaten into 3rd place but are now in coalition with the 5 Stars - to keep the League from what looked like winning an overall majority. And the old Christian Democrat rump, in almost constant government since the war, merged with Berlusconi's lot 20 years ago now languish in an irrelevant fourth place, at under 10%

        Greece's old Socialst party, again in constant government since the end of the dictatorship, virtually ceased to exist and was replaced by Syriza - which used to be an irrelevant minor far left party. The New Democrats survived though as the centre right party.

        In Scandinavia we have a whole bunch of populist / far right parties getting to the edge of power and/or being held off by increasingly difficult coalitions of everybody else. So we have the Finns party - who actually got into coalition and have also been the main opposition. Then there's the Sweden Democrats who've got similar levels of support. And in Denmark we have Danish People's Party - which has propped up a government and not joined in.

        I'll finish my list in Germany, as the post is getting long. We've had Merkel as Chancellor for a long time, with a coalition of the two main parties for the last decade - so on the surface it looks quite stable. But change is a comin'. Partly because she's said she won't stand at the next election. But also because that coalition is a sign of weakness for the two big parties. They used to be big enough to govern with one smaller party - but again, German politics is moving fast. AfD coming up on the far right and Die Linke on the far left are both polling about 10% and the SPD (socialists) are now polling below the Greens - who were traditionally their junior coalition partner.

        In the whole of Northern and Western Europe the socialist / centre left parties have really been hammered in the last decade - often virtually ceasing to exist and being replaced by far left parties - or being forced into coalitions with the centre right to keep out the further right. It's a bit more mixed on the cenre right, but they've often been pressured by parties further to their right to either join them, or head into the centre to keep them out.

        There's a lot of people voting for overtly nationalist parties nowadays. Most of them being quite populist too - often being culturally conservative but economically left wing.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS is worried about details while missing the big picture

    Funny thing is that internal threats aren't a problem at all to MS, while those are actually major issues instead of ripple.

    Trump and his cohort is actively sabotaging US postal system, "losing" literally millions of letters. Absolutely sure thing is that millions of mailed votes will be "lost" too. Not randomly but very selectively from poor or non-white areas.

    Having "security forces" at voting places making sure wrong people can't vote at all.

    Closing voting places from poor or non-white areas is rampant, like 5 places for 50k people? Blatant suppression of voting.

    Prohibiting voting by mail? Same goal.

    Gerrymandering exists to make minority votes irrelevant. it has no other function.

    Blatant corruption at the top of the government, Congress and Senate: Face it, voting is basically irrelevant now.

    US still claims it's a democracy while it's obvious it's not: It's GOP ruled corporativism, where voting is basically a show for poor people.

  6. Jurassic Hermit
    Mushroom

    Blowback

    The US is merely getting back in return what it's being dishing out to others for decades. The CIA playbook for coup and regime changes and getting their man in power is well worn. As the old saying goes: what goes around eventually comes around.

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Unhappy

      Re: Blowback

      Quite true. But, as entertaining as the spectacle of the US crumbling from within is, the problem is that if (when) it falls, it will drag a lot of other countries with it.

      My own country has been on the business end of covert and open meddling by the US many times, but our economy is completely linked to theirs. So anything that happens there, we feel it here, it will take years of painful restructuring to stablish ties to other powers.

      And given that in a post-us world, the options would be Russia's kleptocracy or Winnie the Pooh's CCP, the future looks even bleaker.

      1. Sub 20 Pilot

        Re: Blowback

        I agree. I couldn't give a fuck if the US turns into a medieval religious clusterfuck the way they have behaved basically since the end of WW2 and in particular the GWB years and the current twat-in-chief. The problem is that my government is so far up their arse that the UK will go down with them.

  7. poohbear

    I'm just wondering how they differentiate these alleged attacks from the normal persistent criminal activity on the net. My own servers have a constant stream of people/bots from around the world trying to get an SSH login, or to break Wordpress, or my mail or FTP, on top of all the spam and phishes ...

    So is this actually news, or MS looking for free publicity?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      MS spend serious coin on this kind of research. They've been working for over a decade nown to shut down botnets - where they've done the research and managed to provide proof to a standard that multiple courts were willing to act on their evidence. Which doesn't of course prove that they've not just making it all up, given the tech knowledge of the legal system, but strongly suggests that they've got some idea of what's going on.

      Plus they've had their own anti-virus software for 15 years, that's not always had the best reviews - but has also done decently in repeated tests that I've seen. Which means they've got a network of honeypots out there gathering data - and they're plugged into all the other AV researchers - who share a lot of data.

      They're at least worth a hearing. They have the technical and financial capacity to know a lot of what's going on - and to be able to spot patterns.

      Being such an important part of global computing they're also going to be talking to most governments' computer security departments. Which of course gives them access to lots more information but also the risk that they could be dragged into all sorts of shennanigans. So you pays your money and you takes your choice.

  8. _LC_ Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Harmony-OS

    It's coming and they know so. This will, eventually, wipe MS from Asia.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Caesar says

    Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LOL. *Microsoft* talking about security?

    It didn't take long to find the reason it dared to take that word in its mouth: money. Lots and lots of moolah, based on nothing but vapour when it comes to security - replacing that OS with something that would take less effort to keep secure would be a good start.

    Microsoft talking about election security does fit in, though, it's the same as Trump talking about law and order, and both waste money for no demonstrable return or anything close to what was promised.

    The only difference is that the guy who built up MS through tactics that even Trump would blush at did indeed get seriously rich - Trump's wealth appears to be a mirage (or he wouldn't fight so hard to hide his tax returns - he'd have them framed instead).

    1. Man inna barrel

      Re: LOL. *Microsoft* talking about security?

      Microsoft have plenty of experience of their systems being targeted by crooks. People learn by their mistakes, right?

      Well, one can only hope, I suppose.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reds under your beds! Yellows in your cellos! Ayatollahs in your granolas!

  12. Archivist

    Kettle black

    Of course the US has never interfered in other states internal matters or elections...

  13. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Pint

    Well.

    "...Customer Security & Trust..."

    MS has such a department, you say?

    I'm shocked, I tells ya ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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