Russian Hack: McAfee Dismisses Whitehouse Assessment Out of Hand


Internationally renowned Cyber Security expert John McAfee has waded into the fray as political opponents of the outgoing administration continue to voice scepticism with regard to just exactly who it was who hacked the DNC during the recent Presidential election. McAfee, himself a major pioneer in the area of cyber technology and the developer of the first commercial antivirus program, declared in an interview with Larry King broadcast on the Russian news network RT on the 30th December that “there simply is no way to assign a source for any attack”.

In response to a direct question as to whether or not he thought Russia had attacked the Democratic Party, or Julian Assange had anything to do with the hacking of the DNC and Podesta, McAfee boldly declared that “…when the FBI or when any other agency says the Russians did it, or the Chinese did something, or the Iranians did something, that’s a fallacy. Any hacker capable of breaking in to something is extraordinarily capable of hiding their tracks. If I was the Chinese and I wanted to make it look like the Russians did it, I would use Russian language within the code, I would use Russian techniques of breaking into organizations.”

He then added, categorically, that “If it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians,” before talking at length about the extent to which the United States government is presently so preoccupied with monitoring the activities of its own citizens that serious national security issues are being ignored. A fact that appears to have contributed significantly to the present on going situation.

Not long after the interview was broadcast the former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum also expressed scepticism that Russia had been the source of the problem. In a statement that was followed hot on the heels by a characteristic aside from Donald Trump, in which the latter set out a similar view whilst hinting that he had been party to certain information of which his opponents presently seem unaware, Santorum stated that in his opinion the entire situation was being cynically used by the Obama presidency to effectively ‘destabilize the incoming administration’.

An added twist in the tale appears to relate to McAfee’s statement regarding the extent to which much of the vital infrastructure in the United States, such as the electricity grid, is still extremely vulnerable to cyber attack. The same day the Vermont based electricity supply company Burlington Electric issued a statement saying that it had detected a malware code released by the DHS and the FBI on Thursday as part of its report into an alleged Russian cyber operation aimed at targeting the financial, utility, and transportation sectors, as well as the US Administration itself. Although an initial report in the Washington Post asserted that the electrical grid had actually been penetrated, as part of a plot referred to by the US Authorities as ‘Operation Grizzly Steppe’, it later corrected the story by reporting that the laptop on which the malicious code had been found was not actually connected to the grid at the time, and had since remained isolated from the hackers’ intended target.



Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore          Some Rights Reserved




Rupert Ferguson
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Rupert Ferguson

Journalist at Distract The Media
Rupert Ferguson is a published author, journalist and radical film maker with specialist interests in local government, politics, environmental issues and Traditional English and Scottish Folk Music. His academic work has been endorsed by the likes of Sir Melvyn Bragg, the late Sir James Watt KBE and the former head of Humanities at Bingley College in Yorkshire, England; James Reed.

Having begun his career as a junior researcher at Thames Television in London, he has written for a wide range of publications including 'The Brighton Reporter', 'Durham Town and Country', 'The Brighton and Hove People' and 'The New Celtic Review'. As an exhibited film maker he has been a regular contributor and award nominee at the Portobello Film Festival in London; and has seen his work shown at the annual London Film Makers' Convention at the prestigious Round House Theatre.

As well as receiving enthusiastic reviews from BBC Radio 4 and others for his book on Sir Walter Scott, his pioneering work as an Underground Film Maker on the fledgeling Goa Trance Scene has set him in a field of his own amongst many of his contemporaries; both in the UK, where he presently resides, and elsewhere. Current projects presently in hand include a book centred on his 'Legendary London' series of documentary films, which have stimulated an enthusiastic response from the likes of Glenda Jackson and others; and a novel set in France and Edinburgh during the eighteenth century Scottish Enlightenment.

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