back to article US newspaper's 'Biden will hack Russia' claim: A good way to reassure Putin you'll leave him alone

The US government might have subtly signalled that it likely won't hack Russia this month – by telling credulous journalists it has a "clandestine" plan to, er, launch an attack against its rival before April. The counterintuitive move came over the weekend when The New York Times published a story setting out how "over the …

  1. Cederic Silver badge

    Biden will not hack Russia

    Right now Biden appears to be having difficulties dressing himself. Just who is running the US because it certainly isn't him.

    Harris can't be, her role appears to be nursemaid. It's going to hurt the cause of women seeking political power in the US when she becomes their first female President next month because it's very clear that someone else is pulling the strings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Cederic - Re: Biden will not hack Russia

      Could it be the same entity that was writing speeches for and whispering them into GW Bush's ear ?

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Biden will not hack Russia

      "when she becomes their first female President next month"

      Been visiting that side of YouTube again, Cederic? Shouldn't ought to, y'know ... it rots the brain somethin' fierce.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Biden will not hack Russia

      Yes, yes, we know: BROWN WOMAN BAD.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Biden will not hack Russia

        Now then, don't be racist. Nobody else brought skin colour into this. Why would you?

        Harris is 'BAD' because while AG in California her own lawyers argued that prisoners shouldn't be released because their slave labour had economic benefits to the State. Me, I think keeping prisoners as slave labour is a bad thing, whatever their skin colour. Refusing to free them because the State wants them as slaves? I don't want that person to be President.

        I just recognise that it'll happen, and very soon.

        1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Biden will not hack Russia

          Watch those goalposts move! You started with baseless ad hominem and conspiracy-mongering and then moved onto, remarkably, something resembling a valid and coherent point about Harris' past record as AG. How those two things are in any way related is completely unclear, unfortunately. If you want to criticize Harris based on her record as AG, go for it. Buying into the lunatic fringe conspiracy theories about how Biden is Harris' puppet (and how she herself the puppet of ... whom, exactly?) does your credibility no favors.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Biden will not hack Russia

            I was responding to someone suggesting that Harris is bad because of their skin colour, and pointing out that this is entirely irrelevant and that she's bad for other reasons.

            As for my point about Harris being a puppet, perhaps you'd care to explain why Biden isn't being allowed to hold any press conferences, why he's incapable now of even reading a teleprompt and, given this was known ahead of time, why someone deeply unpopular in her own party's Primaries was selected to take over when he's removed from office.

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

                Re: Biden will not hack Russia

                So, this gormless announcement from the Biden Administration is nothing like the gormless announcements from the previous Administration?

            2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Biden will not hack Russia

              My last post was whacked. Let's see if this edit is accepted:

              Biden was handed a total dog's breakfast on all fronts by the corrupt and incompetent former administration, so he may be a little busy for press conferences right now. You'll note that the Biden administration has been rapidly executing on a series of thoughtful and well-planned policies, and that takes real work, as opposed to simply denying that problems exist and heading off to golf or holding ego-inflating rallies.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Biden will not hack Russia

      All the downvotes your post has received are very telling. The El Reg readers are truly in denial about Biden's condition. Their only possible response now is "BUT THE ORANGE MAN WAS WORSE!"

      Talk about a low bar!

      1. Casca

        Re: Biden will not hack Russia

        I feel sorry for you. Posting as a Anonymous Coward is really classy...

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    US Resposne

    1, Announce a US Cyber-force

    2-49, Decide on name for 'soldiers' (discover Guardians of the Galaxy already taken by Space force, reject Ninja as cultural-appropriation) and uniform design

    50-99, Political in-fighting about which agency gets to own/staff/control/get-the-budget-for

    100-

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: US Resposne

      2-49 We could call them hackers and satisfy this week's ElReg poll (always more interesting than Gallup's).

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    The New York Times?

    The NYT are classic idiots. They shit on Robert Goddard's plans to go to the Moon, saying rockets didn't work in a vacuum and any slack jawed idiot with the most basic understanding of physics would understand that.

    They only "kinda sorta" published a retraction during Apollo 11.

    They published a story on December 8th, 1903 that "Man won't fly for a million years".

    9 days later the Wright Brothers said "surprise motherfucker!"

    In short, if the New York Times said water was wet, I'd dip my toe in the Atlantic to make sure.

    They make The Sun and National Enquirer look good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The New York Times?

      Got anything from the last 50 years?

      1. Chubango

        Re: The New York Times?

        There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq :)

        Here's something from only a few months ago: the "Caliphate" podcast was complete and utter bunk.

        NYT is a great paper but it certainly has its blind spots. Don't trust them blindly but they have also broken many an important (true) story.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: The New York Times?

      You try publishing a generalist broadsheet newspaper every day for 170 years without making mistakes.

      Heck, try doing it once. It might teach you some respect for the trade.

      1. FlamingDeath Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: The New York Times?

        "It might teach you some respect for the trade."

        I'm not sure how much respect should be given to story writers.

        I mean we all like a good story, but at the end of the day, they're just stories

        Unnamed spokesperson said this or that

        Maybe, might, possibly, something happened

        Most intelligent people when reading some material that is littered with spelling mistakes, especially if the source is a so-called professional editorial, will usually give it little credit, because lets face it, who is going to listen to some cockeye'd crayon wielding "journalist"

        Many of them believe themselves to be celebrities in their own right. Like... wtf?

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: The New York Times?

        "It might teach you some respect for the trade."

        I seriously doubt it. I have known newspaper publishers. They are all in it to sell newspapers. Its for subscribers and their nickles, and the advertising that that brings, and that's about it.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: The New York Times?

          Well, yes, of course they're in it for the money. It's a trade. What else are they supposed to do?

          Does that make them unworthy of respect? Do you feel the same way about professional authors? Actors, shopkeepers, couriers, hairdressers, engineers...? They're all of them doing it for the money. Is that wrong?

  4. jake Silver badge

    Didn't the New York Times run this exact same story ...

    ... in 2019ish, but about the Trump administration? Seems to me I remember Trump calling them "traitors" for reporting it.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Didn't the New York Times run this exact same story ...

      That would have been a very different thing though, since Trump would have viewed any attack against his favorite dictator in Russia as traitorous.

  5. man_iii
    Facepalm

    Stop using windows for mission critical stuff

    Ive been brigaded by microsoft shills so many times in theReg comments. I cant say enough times. STOP USING MICROSHAFT FOR CRITICAL STUFF.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Stop using windows for mission critical stuff

      WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ON ABOUT?!

      1. DJ

        Re: Stop using windows for mission critical stuff

        Have an upvote for MP reference, if not the sentiment expressed.

      2. Kane Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Stop using windows for mission critical stuff

        WHY IS EVERYONE SHOUTING? CAN I JOIN IN??

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Stop using windows for mission critical stuff

      While I agree in general with your sentiment, your delivery and timing could handle some help.

      Perhaps if you post on-topic and stop shouting you'll have better results? Worth a try.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Stop using windows for mission critical stuff

        > ...your delivery...

        Eadon-esque comes to mind.

  6. JassMan Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Its all a cunning plan

    Yet the effect of those words is to warn Russia that an attack of some sort is on its way, and it'll be soon, thus putting Vlad and chums on high alert.

    The russians know that that the western world celebrates April Fools day, so telling them that there will be a cyberattack in 3 weeks, means they will ignore it 'cos they will think it is just yet another spaghetti tree story. Once they realise their mistake it will be too late because their entire infrastructure will be pwned.

    Or maybe not.

    But at least trying to discover the truth will keep them distracted for a while.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Its all a cunning plan

      Now, now. Everyone knows that we shut down the internet on April first. We need to let the bits air out, you know.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Its all a cunning plan

        Relax, citizens! We're only shutting down The Internet because HappyNet is finally ready for Prime Time.

  7. NonSSL-Login

    Perception

    This announcement was not for Russia but propaganda for American citizens to give the impression that anything Russia and China can do with hacking, America can do too. They are constantly hacking targets but have maybe slacked a little with choosing enough proper targets.

    These days though, foreign governments seem to be ahead of the US with actual hacking. The US is too busy with mass surveillance and building backdoors in to American products and worldwide standards that they often have the keys to begin with and don't even need to reverse engineer software to get their exploits.

    But a good news article in news outlets that are happy to do the governments bidding can at least change public perception of the truth.

    1. Mark192 Silver badge

      Re: Perception

      "These days though, foreign governments seem to be ahead of the US with actual hacking."

      The USA hacks for political information. Probably very successfully.

      Certain other countries hack also for industrial & technological information that they can pass onto national champions.

      In all cases, we generally only hear about it when something has gone wrong.

  8. CrackedNoggin

    After the fact bragging is also endemic. Remember the 2011 Stuxnet worm which, in the long run, probably had zero net effect. Such blatant "accidental leaks" afterwards, e.g., [https://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/world/middleeast/16stuxnet.html] "Israeli Test on Worm Called Crucial in Iran Nuclear Delay". We could all get top security clearance to read about the "top secret" work in the NYT.

  9. Allan George Dyer
    Paris Hilton

    It's a Cunning Plan

    1. Leak timing of "clandestine operations"

    2. Do nothing

    3. Watch adversary franticly searching for the clandestine operations

    4. Deny ongoing operations

    5. goto 2

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: It's a Cunning Plan

      Except there is nothing cunning or clandestine about it. The Americans are constantly spying on all and sundry. So is the UK, and the Russians, and the Germans, and the Israelis, and the Japanese, and the North and South Koreans, and China, and the Indians, Brazilians, Australians, etc. etc. ... and everybody knows it. And everybody denies it.

      Gawd/ess knows who they think they are foolin'...

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: It's a Cunning Plan

        > and the Germans

        No, we are still wondering what kind of papers have to be signed first.

      2. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: It's a Cunning Plan

        > Except there is nothing cunning or clandestine about it. The Americans are constantly spying on all and sundry.

        Exactly! Which makes it clear it's only intended to reassure Americans that something's about to be done, and the Bad Guys will soon rue the day they decided to be disrespectful to the good old US of A.

        As a technique it's just as ridiculous as it is as a message, but I guess it might be enough to prop the bruised ego of the masses.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aaaand here we go with the "hack" thing again

    Right after a lead article defending the use of the word "hack" to mean good or lawful computer.....something, not sure what that constitutes, the Reg is back to using it to mean some nefarious stuff relates to computers.

  11. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Silent but deadly - or just silent?

    The NYT article says this of the attacks:

    a series of clandestine actions across Russian networks that are intended to be evident to President Vladimir V. Putin and his intelligence services and military but not to the wider world.

    So we and the american public will just have to take Biden's word that an attack has taken place. Because there will be nothing for anyone to see, unless you are Putin or his mates.

    It sounds like a great weapon. One that leaves no trace and apparently causes no damage that anyone except its intended targets can see. More like propaganda: "yesterday we attacked .... and destroyed ..... " but with nothing to prove anyone actually did anything!

    However, the same article also says this is in retaliation for

    rivals who regularly exploit vulnerabilities in government and corporate defenses

    Rather than expend effort in damaging both someone else's systems and your own "high ground" position, why not fix all those vulnerabilities? Or better still, take all this vulnerable stuff off the internet so it can't be exploited to begin with.

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Silent but deadly - or just silent?

      When I was in school, an “SBD” was a type of fart.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Silent but deadly - or just silent?

      > intended to be evident to President Vladimir V. Putin [...] but not to the wider world

      Simply put, he's sending Putin an email.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    subtly signalled that it likely won't hack Russia

    unlikely to won't have unhacked Russiastan?

  13. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Mind games

    In that kind of situation, everything is possible: the leak can be intentional or not, the content can be real or not... Welcome in the wonderful world of black ops.

  14. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Let's see if it works.

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