February 20, 2017 – Fort Russ News
Komsomolskaya Pravda – Translated by Kristina Kharlova
Dmitry Smirnov interviewed Igor Ashmanov, head of “Ashmanov and Partners” at Russian Internet Forum
American spies have trapped themselves in virtual reality while Russians operate in the real world
– We are recording this interview on tape in IPhone, how many intelligence services can listen to it right now?
– Ours, I think, can’t. Not ours… You need to understand that this phone is under the full control of Apple, and they had a scandal even six or seven years ago, when CarrierIQ program was discovered. It was supposed to help the provider, but it turned out that quite a lot of user data was transferred who knows where. Apple had to remove it, then it reappeared. Wikipedia describes in detail in the article about CarrierIQ.
But in reality, we know that in the US PATRIOT Act of 2001 requires Internet companies and providers, device manufacturers to share data. As Snowden told us, this act created channels to continuously collect user data without any formalities.
– How big is the amount of data collected?
– Regular users have no idea. Just Google has 5-10 million servers! Hundreds of data centers around the world. NSA has about the same. Generally search engines such as Yandex and Google always save four or five copies of the entire Internet, simply because of technology. And social networks save all comments and posts of all users over the years. Mobile operators save all texts, moves, call logs, and now, I think, conversations. All of this is what intelligence keeps.
– Why with such resource, the US government missed Trump?
– Because it was not about propaganda or tapping. Trump is the answer to the need for justice in American society. But it was predicted that someone like him can win in the next four years, but for now everyone agreed to crown Clinton. All the media, all politicians, all bankers, and all the education community were for Hillary
The ratio of media – Clinton had 500 media outlets, Trump – 26. The gap was twenty times, but they themselves have created an information bubble which is described by the formula “No one I know voted for Putin”. This anti-Trump establishment convinced itself that they are all set. And when Trump won, they had a cognitive dissonance. They are in shock, they cry, they go to protests in universities, for example, creating special crying rooms, bring fluffy dogs to pet and calm down. My friend is a professor at American university, he was shocked about what was happening.
And now all the American media are trying to understand: what trick did Trump use, which they did not know about. It is rationalization (not to recognize the obvious). And the obvious is that Trump won in “real reality”. He said something, which did not require 500 media outlets. It spread like wildfire on social media, and Hillary and her team didn’t see it inside their information bubble.
The media can’t understand why their propaganda did not work. Just as American media is deceiving themselves, so is the US intelligence, which has recently become media-like. They are so used to working on open sources and tapping that they can’t work any other way.
So for example, they completely missed Crimea. Why? They did not expect it, it wasn’t in the press, nothing on phones. Those who took Crimea did not use cell phones, they got special communication packages by foot as in 1941. Russia for them today is a black hole, and much of what happens there is news for them.
– Tell us the truth about the Russian hackers
– I have managed programmers for 30 years, sometimes I come across people associated with hacking activities, but rarely. We don’t have them on staff, neither as contractors, we don’t have such needs. We had one employee who unexpectedly turned out to be a former hacker and a few years ago he was arrested in Cyprus “by fax” from the Americans. He worked as a computer programmer with us, went on vacation to Cyprus and there he was arrested at the request of the Americans on made-up charges. I didn’t even know him, we have a lot of people. For nine months we helped him and pulled him out. Americans came into his cell, without agreement with lawyer or consul, and asked, “Why are you so stubborn? Agree for extradition, you will do one year, we’ll give you a green card, because you will work for intelligence, make good money. And don’t forget your toolkit, you will use it”.
Several times a year ‘Russian hackers’ are arrested around the world, it is a kind of recruiting for Pentagon or NSA.
The entire story with Russian hackers is a media bubble. In the summer of 2016, Americans announced that they are going to equate cyber attacks to real military actions. That is, allowed themselves or NATO to respond with conventional war to cyber attacks. It is clear that an attack on critical infrastructure is an act of war, for which the answer is conventional war. That can be traced if not on by trail, but by who benefits.
But they equate a cyber attack to war, to get rid of responsibility to produce evidence. To have the perfect excuse to use it at any point in time.
– And can there be evidence?
– No hackers leave a trace. This is ridiculous. There’s even a video of John McAfee, the author of one of the first anti-virus, who is now done with business, but still remains a professional. In his video he examines what US intelligence wrote about “Russian hackers”:
“They found Cyrillic symbols in the code comments”. That is, comments in Russian in some sort of viruses. Are you crazy? Will Russians write comments in Russian? Then they found that it was written “on a Cyrillic keyboard.” McAfee asks “Has technology reached the point when you can identify a keyboard?” It is nonsense. “They argue that the compiler used by the hackers leaves a timestamp which corresponds to the business hours in Moscow (hackers work at night, not during business hours!!!). And found IP addresses that come from Russia!
Of course, there can be no traces of this kind. But even if there were, how do you present it to the public? It’s just some long strips of some numbers, logs of some anonymous servers. This cannot be explained. It is all at the level of Colin Powell’s vials with white powder.