In the indictment released on Friday, the Department of Justice named Russian intelligence agents they say were behind the personas used on the internet to make public the information stolen from the Democratic party and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
The 11-count indictment described how Russian military agents used cyberattacks to trick people into letting them plant malware files on computer systems in order to steal information.
The information, once gathered, was disseminated to the public using fake internet personas to leak the information to the public, the indictment says.
Two of those personas – DC Leaks and Guccifer 2.0 – were named in Friday’s indictment. There were others.
While DC Leaks had both a Twitter account and a Facebook page, Guccifer 2.0 had more direct interaction with people the Russians hoped would share the stolen information.
What we know about Guccifer 2.0, based on the indictment:
- In June 2016, Guccifer 2.0 began posting its hacked material through a WordPress site.
- Guccifer 2.0 shared stolen documents with journalists, a lobbyist, a U.S. congressional candidate, something called “Organization 1,” which appears to be WikiLeaks, and a person in touch with the Trump campaign, who was revealed to be Roger Stone.
- Guccifer 2.0 took his name from Guccifer, a Romanian hacker who became famous after he stole information from celebrities and political figures and posted it online.
- Guccifer 2.0 is believed to be several Russians, not just one person.
- While Guccifer 2.0 used WikiLeaks, Organization 1 in the indictment, to disperse the information hacked from the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Clinton’s campaign, “he” also shared documents on “his” own WordPress blog.
- “He” interacted with people over social media, particularly Twitter direct messages, including reporters and, as mentioned in the indictment, Trump confidant Roger Stone.
- “He” provided documents to a U.S. congressional candidate who asked for information on an opponent.
- Guccifer 2.0 told reporters and others that he was from Romania. He claimed that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who exposed intelligence surveillance secrets and Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley Manning), a soldier convicted of espionage, inspired “him” to be an activist.
- Guccifer 2.0's first leaks came immediately after a Washington Post story attributed the DNC hack to Russia, and most experts believe that the persona was an attempt to salvage what they could out of a blown operation.
- The indictment says that Russian intelligence operatives ran searches of phrases in Guccifer 2.0's first WordPress before the post went live. Investigators suggest that that showed the Russians knew a blog was to be published before it was.
- Guccifer 2.0 contacted WikiLeaks to transfer stolen documents in late June 2016, weeks before the Democratic National Convention, but could not transfer the information. Instead, Guccifer 2.0 gave WikiLeaks access to an online archive of stolen files. About three weeks later, WikiLeaks published 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC.
- On Aug. 22, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 transferred 2.5 gigabytes of stolen DCCC data to a registered state lobbyist and political news website.
- Also on that day, Guccifer 2.0 sent information to a reporter about the Black Lives Matter movement. The reporter asked when would be the best time to publish a story based on the information.
- Guccifer 2.0 presented himself as a single apolitical hacker.
- In January 2017, Guccifer 2.0 said he had no connection to the Russian government.
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