Should A Phishing Attack Spark World War III ?

Based on the news and information releases to date (9 Jan 2017), the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democrat National Committee (DNC) presents about the same level of National Security threat as the infamous 'hack' of Paris Hilton several years ago. Actually less. Hilton's intruder specifically targeted her and gained entry by correctly guessing the answer to a password hint. On the other hand, allegedly, Fancy Bear or Cozy Bear or both apparently gained entry with a phishing attack presumably sent to thousands, if not millions of individuals, RANDOMLY.

Podesta and his staff, falling for a phishing attack, is entirely to blame. One staffer has confessed a 'typo' (in responding to a fellow staffer asking for validation of the phishing email) that the phishing email was "legitimate", rather than "illegitimate". However the phishing URL was in plain sight and anyone dealing with emails at a staff level of a national organization should have known the difference between top-level and secondary-level domains.

Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear are known hacking groups that have been operating since approximately the turn of the century and they are criminal hackers. They are not known to be agents of the Russian government though they may have dealt with Russian 'spy' agencies. Even with this, our best intelligence agents cannot say, with certainty, whether it was Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear or some other Happy-Bear that engineered the attack, using similar software as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear. Nor have our intelligence agents released an explanation of how the two groups, which do not work together, both gained access to Podesta’s email account. Occam's razor would suggest a third Happy-Bear, using the same type software programs as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, gained entry and exploited Podesta’s email. All of these uncertainties constitute a persistent quandary.

It appears that whichever Happy-Bear group that intruded upon Podesta's email, it was a phisher looking to 'score' and sell whatever information was obtained. Obviously, they would have sold to anyone willing to pay. In this case, it may have been Russian intelligence - or someone else.

Regardless, this does not represent a National Security threat. And this begs the question of why President Obama imposed sanctions. Obviously, Obama could have been misinformed or misled, for whatever reason. Or, Obama could have been piqued that his party lost the presidential election and was merely striking out. But, Obama has developed a cool and calculating personae over the last eight years and his action undoubtedly had an intention to fit within his sphere of intension. The intention being bear baiting, quite literally the Russian bear, to complicate relations for the incoming administration.

Obama's intension has long been to promote his liberalism and hinder his opposition in any manner possible. If Obama does intend to be leader of a shadow government, after his presidential terms, a conflict with Russia would provide ample fodder with which to bombard the next administration with allegations of incompetence.

Whatever the case may be, the successful phishing attack on the DNC should not rise to the level of national threat and certainly not to the level of international incident.

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