Russians Did NOT HACK a Vermont Power Company

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screenshot of The Washington Post

The Washington Post (WaPo) published a fake news story last week about a Vermont utility company being hacked by Russians. The irresponsible publication walked it back the next day, toning down the dramatic title of the article. WaPo is now forced to admit Russians did not attack the power grid after all.

The so-called news outlet is unrepentant and offer no apologies.

Russians Did Not Attack Our Power Grid

Russian hackers do not appear to be behind an attack on a Vermont electric utility, reports the Washington Post, citing officials close to the investigation.

This is after days of insisting they not only tried to hack the grid, Russians were in the grid.

The media at large ran with the story on Monday, even after the facts were out.

Joe Scarborough who rarely bothers to check his facts.
Joe Scarborough who rarely bothers to check his facts.

On MSNBC Monday, Joe Scarborough said on Morning Joe that Russian malware was found on a laptop in a Vermont utility as if it was a proven fact.

Also Monday, Bloomberg Politics explained that they don’t know where it came from and haven’t investigated yet.

“We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding,” utility spokesman Mike Kanarick said in the statement. “Our team is working with federal officials to trace this malware and prevent any other attempts to infiltrate utility systems. We have briefed state officials and will support the investigation fully.”

However, the title of the Bloomberg article was, Russian Hacking Code Found in Vermont Power Utility.

The simple truth is a utility company employee checked his Yahoo account and The Washington Post transformed it into Russia hacked the power grid. A laptop not connected to the grid was scanned and a virus was found. This is a common everyday occurrence.

Burlington Electric Grid in Vermont.
Burlington Electric Grid in Vermont.

WaPo never even waited to hear the company’s response nor did the many politicians who chimed in, like Sen. Patrick Leahy for instance.

Malware Said to Be in Clinton Emails Are Not Exclusively Russian

It is now obvious that this event and the joint report on The Clinton emails included information that many experts say is not exclusively connected to Russian intelligence attacks, the hill reported.

In fact, the malware cited in the joint report is Ukrainian in origin.

The joint report has a disclaimer that should stop everyone from reading it.
The joint report has a disclaimer that should stop everyone from reading it.

A list of internet addresses said to be tied to the attacks included some that were common to other uses, too, including those used by thousands of users from the Tor internet anonymity service reports the hill. A list of pseudonyms for the attackers included “Powershell backdoor,” which is a type of attack, not a specific attacker group.

According to the latest Washington Post report, the broad list of internet addresses led Burlington Electric to believe that a compromised laptop was the victim of a Russian attack. Upon further investigation, it appears to have been infected by a common hacker toolkit not connected to the Russian attacks.

Why did they not conduct a “further investigation” before they posted the story?

“No one should be making any attribution conclusions purely from the indicators in the USCERT report. It was all a jumbled mess,” cybersecurity expert Dmitri Alerpovitch tweeted last week.

The Washington Post Is the Embodiment of Fake News

WaPo has put their energy over the last month to publishing fake news demonizing Donald Trump.

In one story, the Post claimed that the Russian government was behind the explosion in fake news during the 2016 presidential election. They cited a new group PropOrNot, which maintains a list of media sources that they believe are proprietors of Russian propaganda. However, the group is anonymous and uses a list that is provably wrong. WaPo tarred publications as Russian operatives that have nothing to do with Russia like the Ron Paul Institute. Their only evidence was one fake news source, ProporNot.

WaPo was forced to issue an editor’s note stating that they can’t vouch for the validity of the source.

In another case, a WaPo column denounced Trump’s pick for OMB Director for being too inexperienced, in part for having never served on the House Budget Committee. It was yet another case of no research. If they did some minor research, even a google search, they would have discovered that the pick, Mich Mulvaney did serve on that committee.

Sadly, The Washington Post is one of the fact-checkers to be used by Facebook to single out Fake News.

 

 


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