AP's 'bang-up' exclusive: FBI did not inform hacking victims
Photo: Clint Eastwood in 1992's "Unforgiven." The term "bang-up" job would be the 1880s equivalent of "shred."
By TATIANA PROPHET
A journalism professor of mine used the term "bang-up job" as high praise for the very best in journalism.
This article by the Associated Press is just that -- "a bang-up job." Reporters for the AP went the extra mile to uncover the names of government personnel whose personal Gmail accounts were hacked by the notorious hacking ring "Fancy Bear," so named by cyber-security company Crowdstrike because they deduced it came from Russia. According to the AP, the FBI did not inform government targets while they were holding high-level positions that they had been targeted by phishing attempts. In some cases, the sources were informed by family members that their e-mails were on the internet.
The article includes extensive interviews with named sources who were hacked but not informed, as well as analysis by both named and unnamed government and IT experts.
It's fitting that the term "bang-up job," which confused me as a young college student, originates from the 1880s and refers to causing extensive damage, according to Merriam-Webster. I guess it's not that far off from our current vernacular of "I killed it," meaning, I knocked it out of the park.
In this bombshell report as well as previous coverage, the AP appears to have investigated more deeply into the hacking issue than the FBI. Reporters reached hosting companies in Romania and Malaysia, whose representatives appeared to have no idea of their connection to Fancy Bear.
As most people know by now, Fancy Bear is more notorious for hacking the Democratic National Committee and releasing thousands of sensitive and potentially damaging e-mail conversations designed to damage the campaign of Hillary Clinton.
The fingering of Russia remains with Crowdstrike, whose founder Dmitri Alperovich has said he has a "high certainty" the hacking ring came from Russia and leads all the way back to Russian foreign military intelligence agency the GRU. However, even mainstream sources acknowledge that the FBI is relying on Crowdstrike's conclusion and did not actually examine the DNC's server. Still, a previous analysis by the AP shows that by looking at Fancy Bear's targets, the hacking ring's global targets interests appear to align clearly with Russia's.
The article really makes one wonder what was going on at the FBI in 2015 and 2016. Will we ever find out?