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Monday, 24 June 2019 11:29

CrowdStrike did not file final report on DNC hack: court filing

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CrowdStrike did not file final report on DNC hack: court filing Pixabay

Controversial American security firm CrowdStrike did not provide an unredacted or final report to the FBI after it was called in to examine the servers at the Democratic National Committee that were hacked in 2016 and which led to claims of Russian interference in the US presidential election of the same year.

The fact that no final report was produced was stated in a court filing by the US Government in the pre-trial phase of Republican operative Roger Stone who played some kind of role in the campaign of Donald Trump, the former CIA operative Ray McGovern noted in an article for Consortium News.

Stone's legal team had sought "unredacted reports" from CrowdStrike to try and get the government to prove that Russia did hack the DNC servers as alleged. A footnote in the government's response to the filing said only drafts were created.

“Although the reports produced to the defendant are marked ‘draft’, counsel for the DNC and DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] informed the government that they are the last version of the report produced," the filing said.

These drafts were voluntarily given to the government by CrowdStrike. "At the time of the voluntary production, counsel for the DNC told the government that the redacted material concerned steps taken to remediate the attack and to harden the DNC and DCCC systems against future attack," the filing by the government said. "According to counsel, no redacted information concerned the attribution of the attack to Russian actors."

CrowdStrike was called in to investigate but did not allow the FBI a look at the servers, even though there were many requests made by the organisation which was at that time headed by James Comey.

The only thing that CrowdStrike would agree to do was to would share its findings with the FBI. An independent analysis of CrowdStrike's claims about the malware that was used in the DNC attack does not appear to support the thesis that this could be definitely traced to Russia or any other country.

Comey has admitted in congressional testimony that he chose not to take control of the hacked servers, and did not send FBI tech experts to inspect them, but has not given any explanation so far as to why he acted in this way.

"In his testimony, he conceded that 'best practices' would have dictated that forensic experts gain physical access to the computers. Nevertheless, the FBI decided to rely on forensics performed by a firm being paid for by the DNC," McGovern wrote.

McGovern is part of a group known as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which includes former NSA technical director William Binney. The group has questioned the claim that DNC emails were stolen across the Internet. Both have provided evidence to show that the exfiltration of data could only have been a local job, due to the bandwidth that was needed.

iTWire has contacted CrowdStrike for comment.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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