Sunday, July 13, 2014

Russia Hacking Pro-NATO Think Tanks?

All the news last week was about China cyberspying on Middle East experts at US think tanks, but very little has been reported about another recent cyberspying phenomenon, apparently involving Russia.  Here is more from the Financial Times:
Pro-Nato think-tanks, military organisations linked to member states and Nato itself have been the target of internet trolling campaigns, traditional media disinformation and cyber attacks designed to bolster domestic support and attack foreign opponents, in traditional media and online. Senior Nato officials have told the FT they are in little doubt that such activities are orchestrated on a large scale by the Russian government.

It is unclear exactly which think tanks FT is referring to, but one example may be the Cooperative  Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), a "think tank"  associated with NATO.

Here is more from the alleged Chinese attacks on US think tanks, as mentioned above.

In the American Thinker this weekend, Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen asked why foreign governments are opting to collect information at think tanks by hacking them, and not attending their events and/or having personal meetings with think tankers.  They speculate that China's leaders probably thought they could find out more than think tank scholars would be willing to tell them in public discussions.

Remember the good old days of 2010 when foreign spies actually applied for think tank jobs?

And as a more basic question, why are foreign governments even going after think tanks?  Here is more their article:
It has been said that one can eat out every day in Washington by visiting different policy organizations for the ubiquitous “luncheon panel and discussion.” Foreign governments with representation in Washington, who generally devote a lot of effort to gleaning policy information, often find it easier to learn the nuances of American government thinking and talk to those who talk to administration sources than it is to get appointments with the sources themselves. China, like Russia, and all the friendlier countries (UK, Japan, Israel, and many others) make the rounds, collect information, and send it home.

Oh, I thought they were just interested in think tank food...