WikiLeaks is helping to cast doubt on the conclusion of intelligence agencies that the Russian government was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee, in what appears to be the latest disinformation campaign orchestrated by Moscow. The site leaked a trove of purported CIA hacking tools this week and zeroed in on what it called the agency’s effort to “misdirect attribution” of cyber attacks to other nations, including Russia. Fake accounts on Twitter seized on the claim to dispute that Russia sought to interfere in the U.S. election last year, noted Ryan Kalember, senior vice president for cybersecurity strategy at Proofpoint. He described the WikiLeaks release as playing into a larger “disinformation campaign” aimed at undermining the intelligence community’s attribution of cyber attacks, particularly those to Russia.
“That comes out in the WikiLeaks press release and immediately, all of the bots on Twitter who everyone speculates are controlled by agents of a particular government immediately start saying it wasn’t Russia that hacked the DNC, it was the CIA,” Kalember said. “You have this really obvious kind of disinformation campaign that is ready to go as soon as the leak happens.”
… Kalember described the disinformation campaign that resulted on Twitter following Tuesday’s CIA document dump as a “hallmark” of Russia.
“The big story here is, if you were actually trying to undermine a very specific claim that was made by every single one of the U.S. intelligence agencies and corroborated by all of their foreign counterparts, this is how you might do that,” Kalember said. “It wasn’t even subtle. They made memes about it.”