A barrage of emails sent to Democratic voters shakes the elections in the United States in which Donald Trump and Joe Biden face and sows, once again, suspicions about possible foreign interference in the vote.
This is because the Government denounced that a group of hackers from Iran are behind a chain of threatening emails that received thousands of registered voters as Democrats in Florida. His message was clear: “Vote Trump or we go for you”.
As reported The Washington PostBased on the testimony of two officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the government of Iran is behind the orchestrated campaign to intimidate Biden voters into supporting the current Republican president in the November 3 elections.
“Department of Homeland Security officials told state and local election administrators in a call Wednesday that a foreign government was responsible for the online bombing“The Post published. In addition, it would have detected” black holes “in state and local election websites that made them vulnerable to attack.
The mails that reached Democrats claimed to be from “The Proud Boys”, a far-right group that supports President Trump.
The director of American Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, went further and denounced that both Russia and Iran obtained information from the voter registry in the United States and have acted to influence public opinion before the presidential elections.
Ratcliffe said that Iran specifically sent emails to Americans “designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and harm the president. [Donald] Trump. “And he added that he also distributed a video that makes people believe that he is Possible to send fraudulent ballots, even from outside the United States.
A snapshot of the video that was circulated to cast doubt on the US vote.
Ratcliffe said Iran and Russia seek to use the information obtained “to communicate false information to registered voters in the hopes of causing confusion, sowing chaos and undermining confidence in American democracy.”
“These actions are desperate efforts by desperate adversaries,” Ratcliffe added.
The threatening email
The mail Democratic voters received
The content of the email, released by the local press, says, after identifying the recipient with his name and address: “We have all your information. You are registered as a Democrat (…) Vote for Trump on Election Day or we’re going for you“.
“We will know which candidate you voted for. I would take this seriously in your place,” is the end of the threat, which came to students at the University of Florida, from the address [email protected]
Alachua County Police in North Florida were among the first to reveal this mass mailing pro-Trump.
He claimed to be aware of an email “allegedly from the Proud Boys” and said he was investigating it together with the Florida electoral authority and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“This email appears to be a scam and we will be initiating an investigation into the origin of the email along with the assistance of our partners at the federal level,” police wrote on Facebook, warning of the possible hoax.
The Alachua County Police Post.
But the event transcended the borders of Florida and the reception of similar emails was also reported in three other states: Pennsylvania (northeast), Arizona (southwest) and Alaska.
“The emails were sent by a group of unknown identity that spent considerable time and effort identifying vulnerable servers in countries like Estonia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to take control of them and send the emails, “said security expert John Scott-Railton, who examined dozens of the messages, the AP confirms.
Scott-Railton, who is part of the internet civil rights project for the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, said the Proud Boys email address placed in the sender section was a convenience label.
Hours before the revelation that Iran was behind the campaign, the analyst theorized about it, saying that it could be that a nation state was behind the campaign, which was not very sophisticated.
“There are documented cases where Russian agents have sent threatening mail, including spouses of the US military. Ukraine has also been hit by fake emails suspected of being the work of the Kremlin, “he explained.
Why cybercriminals from abroad and not locals? His answer suggested that, had it been local hackers, it would have been much more effective to carry out these threats through social networks instead of emails.
Hours later, the government itself recognized the threat of Russian interference in possible disinformation campaigns in the previous vote.
What are the Proud Boys
Members of the right-wing group Proud Boys.
The Proud Boys, identified as an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) – which maintains a national registry of hate groups – rose to fame when Trump refused to condemn them in a debate with his Democratic rival. Joe Biden.
The president instead asked them “back off and wait”.
Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys and state director of Latinos for Trump in Florida, assured the newspaper this Wednesday The Washignton Post that your group is not involved in the distribution of these emails.
According to SPLC, the Proud Boys is a far-right group that supports white nationalism – although Tarrio identifies as Afro-Cuban – and is known for its anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.
Does this spam campaign designed to scare Democrats cast doubt on the transparency of the election? The director of the FBI, the agency in charge of ensuring electoral security, Christopher Wray, said that “he will not tolerate foreign interference” in the elections.
“The Proud boys did nothing wrong,” reads the T-shirt of one of the supporters of the far-right pro-Trump group.
“We have worked for years to build resilience in our electoral infrastructure and today that infrastructure remains solid. You must be sure that your vote counts,” he said
Source: Agencies, The Washington Post and The New York Times