DNC hack investigator: Despite Assange’s comments, attack was Russian


The co-founder of the company that originally attributed the hacking of Democratic outlets to Russia is standing by his work despite Julian Assange’s statement that WikiLeaks did not receive the stolen emails from Moscow.

On Thursday, the Russian government-run news station RT promoted an upcoming interview with Assange by quoting the WikiLeaks head’s first outright denial of the widely accepted explanation that the Hillary Clinton-related documents came straight from President Vladimir Putin’s administration.

{mosads}“That’s false. We can say that the Russian government is not the source,” Assange said. 

Later on Thursday, Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer at CrowdStrike, spoke to the press at the Security Innovation Network Showcase in Washington D.C. CrowdStrike was the company hired by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to investigate and repair the breaches after their emails were stolen and released over the summer. 

Alperovitch acknowledged that he cannot disprove who physically handed the files to Assange. But, he said, he could show that a Russian-affiliated hacking group breached the servers and that the Guccifer 2.0 cover identity — which has been linked to Russia — said before and after WikiLeaks posted the files that he was the one sending them to the site. 

“I personally do not know where WikiLeaks got their information. I do know that at least some of the information that leaked had been taken by the Russians out of the DNC network. Maybe someone else gave it to him,” he said. 

In June, CrowdStrike posted the case for Russian involvement to its company website. Rival companies including Fidelis and FireEye, as well as U.S. intelligence services, came to the same conclusion. 

Though GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has been skeptical of Russia’s involvement with the DNC and DCCC hacks, some of his surrogates, including House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and retired Gen. Michael Flynn, have said Russia is likely behind the attacks. McCaul and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have called for the United States to take action in response.

At the press conference on Thursday, Alperovitch said the CrowdStrike report withheld additional evidence pointing to Russia that would make the case even more convincing. Not all of that evidence, he said, was technical. 

Alperovitch was particularly unmoved by the argument that if Russia wanted to keep a mission covert, neither CrowdStrike nor the government would have been able to detect the county’s actions. 

“They’re not that good,” he said.

Updated at 5:39 p.m.

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