Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

More Bullsh*t Fake News from Washington Post

Published on January 1, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

I was laughing the moment I saw the Washington Post headline story Russian hackers penetrated U.S.electricity grid through a utility in Vermont.

I did not touch the story because I thought it was BS. And it was.

Glen Greenwald at the Intercept has the details in Russia Hysteria Infects WashPost Again: False Story About Hacking U.S. Electric Grid.

The Washington Post on Friday reported a genuinely alarming event: Russian hackers have penetrated the U.S. power system through an electrical grid in Vermont. The Post headline conveyed the seriousness of the threat.

The Post article contained grave statements from Vermont officials of the type politicians love to issue after a terrorist attack to show they are tough and in control.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy issued a statement warning: “This is beyond hackers having electronic joy rides – this is now about trying to access utilities to potentially manipulate the grid and shut it down in the middle of winter. That is a direct threat to Vermont and we do not take it lightly.”

The media reactions, as Alex Pfeiffer documents, were exactly what one would expect: hysterical, alarmist proclamations of Putin’s menacing evil.

The Post’s story also predictably and very rapidly infected other large media outlets. Reuters thus told its readers around the world: “A malware code associated with Russian hackers has reportedly been detected within the system of a Vermont electric utility.”

What’s the problem here? It did not happen.

There was no “penetration of the U.S. electricity grid.” The truth was undramatic and banal. Burlington Electric, after receiving a Homeland Security notice sent to all U.S. utility companies about the malware code found in the DNC system, searched all their computers and found the code in a single laptop that was not connected to the electric grid.

Apparently, the Post did not even bother to contact the company before running its wildly sensationalistic claims, so they had to issue their own statement to the Burlington Free Press which debunked the Post’s central claim.

So the key scary claim of the Post story – that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid – was false. All the alarmist tough-guy statements issued by political officials who believed the Post’s claim were based on fiction.

Even worse, there is zero evidence that Russian hackers were responsible even for the implanting of this malware on this single laptop. The fact that malware is “Russian-made” does not mean that only Russians can use it; indeed, like a lot of malware, it can purchased (as Jeffrey Carr has pointed out in the DNC hacking context, assuming that Russian-made malware must have been used by Russians is as irrational as finding a Russian-made Kalishnikov AKM rifle at a crime scene and assuming the killer must be Russian).

Read More HERE

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