We've written thirty-eleventy times in the last month on the Trump administration's ongoing plan to manufacture an election attack from China in support of Joe Biden, in order to distract from/absolve responsibility for the attack Russia is currently doing for its old buddy Donald Trump. "No, it's 'GIIIIIIIINA," they protest. And thanks to a new whistleblower, we know Trump officials at the Department of Homeland Security are actively telling their people to hide the intel on Russian attacks, and gin up/exaggerate threats from China.

But the assessment from William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), did say 'GIIIIIIINA was doing some stuff. Not directly to this election, but longterm, 'GIIIIIIIINA got some plans. And maybe they're in there mucking around with some stuff right now.

Thanks to Microsoft, we actually have some information on what kind of hacking is being done, and by whom. Surprise, it's still fucking Russia, mostly.


Here are some bullet points from Microsoft, which we'll explain below:

Strontium, operating from Russia, has attacked more than 200 organizations including political campaigns, advocacy groups, parties and political consultants

Zirconium, operating from China, has attacked high-profile individuals associated with the election, including people associated with the Joe Biden for President campaign and prominent leaders in the international affairs community

Phosphorus, operating from Iran, has continued to attack the personal accounts of people associated with the Donald J. Trump for President campaign

The fuck you say?

OK, let's break this down. As Microsoft explains, first of all, most of these attacks have been stopped. (They can only stop shit they observe that involves their own clients.)

Strontium is Russia. It's the same group of hackers that attacked Hillary Clinton's campaign. It's Russian military intelligence. They are trying to attack lots of people, and Microsoft says their tactics have moved beyond mere spear-phishing, where they make you click on the bad links and give up your own password. They're now "engaged in brute force attacks and password spray, two tactics that have likely allowed them to automate aspects of their operations," according to Microsoft's blog post. They're also getting better at disguising what they're doing.

Zirconium is 'GIIIIIIIIIINA. What is 'GIIIIIIIIIINA doing?

First, the group is targeting people closely associated with U.S. presidential campaigns and candidates. For example, it appears to have indirectly and unsuccessfully targeted the Joe Biden for President campaign through non-campaign email accounts belonging to people affiliated with the campaign. The group has also targeted at least one prominent individual formerly associated with the Trump Administration.

Second, the group is targeting prominent individuals in the international affairs community, academics in international affairs from more than 15 universities, and accounts tied to 18 international affairs and policy organizations including the Atlantic Council and the Stimson Center.

Interesting! Wait, they're targeting Joe Biden? VERY INTERESTING. Trump certainly has said 'GIIIIIINA IF YOU'RE LISTENING quite a few times.

Here's the part about Phosphorus, which is Iran:

Phosphorus has attempted to access the personal or work accounts of individuals involved directly or indirectly with the U.S. presidential election. Between May and June 2020, Phosphorus unsuccessfully attempted to log into the accounts of administration officials and Donald J. Trump for President campaign staff.

Hey you know how sometimes when people lie, they do it by YOOGELY exaggerating about something that's more-or-less true, and then mangling it into a whole new thing that is a complete lie? Reading this, we're beginning to think that's what fuckers like Bill Barr are doing, when they say they've seen the intel, and go on Fox News to say the biggest threat to the election is 'GIIIIIIIINA.

Microsoft explains that the kind of attacks China is doing seem to be intended to "perform reconnaissance on targeted accounts to determine if the account is valid or the user is active." In other words, they're spying. Everybody spies.

The Wall Street Journal spoke to an expert who gives more context:

John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis at the U.S.-based cybersecurity company FireEye Inc., said that the threat to the election posed by Russia's military intelligence exceeded that from other nations, given its tendency toward "brash and aggressive cyber operations."

As in previous elections, China and Iran are likely targeting campaigns to quietly collect intelligence, Mr. Hultquist said. But Russia's "unique history raises the prospect of follow-on information operations or other devastating activity."

We feel like he's saying of course China and Iran are doing shit. They're always doing shit. But their version of Doing Shit is not the same as Russia's version of DOING SHIT.

So when Mike Pompeo or Chad Wolf or Bill Barr or Trump comes in with some breaking news about what China is doing, that's likely how they're lying. They're expecting most people not to know that China and Iran are always doing some shit.

We saw it in the impeachment of Trump, with the GOP's refrain of "BUT UKRAINE COLLUDED WITH DEMOCRATS TOO ALSO!" What did Ukraine do? Nothing, except some Ukrainian politicians posted on Facebook that Trump sux. Hey, look over there! Don't look at Russia!

So too now.

What are 'GIIIIIINA and Iran doing? Some spy shit.

What is Russia doing? Actively working to steal re-election for Donald Trump.

Don't fall for these assholes and their lies.

[Wall Street Journal / Microsoft]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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