Dutch media are buzzing today with the latest Russian hacking news. Apparently, Vladimir Putin’s digital foot soldiers tried to hack the report of the Dutch investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down above Ukraine in 2014. The attempt to hack the report was made on September 29, 2015, only two weeks before it was made public.
The strategy used by the Russian hackers was similar to how they hacked the DNC, thereby exposing the internal emails of high-ranking Democrat officials and causing a major headache for the Democratic Party and especially for Hillary Clinton’s flailing campaign.
One of the investigators received an email telling him that he had to log in again to the secured website because something had gone wrong. If he had clicked on the link provided in the email, the Russians would’ve been able to read the report because it was published.
The reason Russia attempted to hack the report is quite simple, of course: the investigation concluded the obvious, namely, that Russia and its allies in eastern Ukraine were responsible for shooting down the airplane with hundreds of innocent civilians in it. In total, 298 people were killed, 283 passengers and 15 crew members.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Russia tried to hack the report before it was made public, but it’s still extremely discomforting. Other states engage in the same behavior, but they at least have the good sense to hide their tracks somewhat. Putin doesn’t care who knows what he’s doing and why. Apparently, he’s convinced that the West is so weak that he’ll get away with everything.
The saddest part is that he’s clearly right about that. Barack Obama hasn’t laid a hand on him during his eight years in power, Donald Trump sucks up to the Russian dictator whenever he can, and, without American support, Europe is not able to make a fist even if it wants to.