Threat Management, Threat Management, Threat Intelligence

Reports cast suspicion on Trump server, political consultant

Two more troubling potential connections between President Donald Trump and Russia have surfaced in a pair of reports -- one suggesting a possible computer server connection between the Trump organization and a Russian bank, and another alleging that a Trump adviser was in contact with Russian hackers during the presidential election.

The first report, from CNN, cites anonymous sources claiming that the FBI's secretive Counterintelligence Division continues to look into anomalous behavior from a computer server owned by Russia-based Alfa Bank, which from May to September 2016 looked up the contact information for a Trump Organization-registered computer server 2,820 times. Internet data shows that 80 percent of all DNS lookup queries for that server, which was located in the rural town of Lititz, Pa., were from Alfa Bank, the report noted.

One official who spoke to CNN called the occurrence "odd," although there could be a few different explanations for the cause, including a possible spam marketing campaign launched from that server that could have triggered the DNS look-ups as a defensive measure.

The Counterintelligence Division is also looking into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, reported CNN, which also noted that the server issue came to light again because it was mentioned in the Breitbart news article that may have prompted Trump to recently accuse the Obama administration of tapping his phones.

The other report, from The Smoking Gun, stated that Trump ally and political consultant Roger Stone had contact via Twitter private messages with Guccifer 2.0, the hacker persona that digital forensics investigators have actually attributed to the Russian Grizzly Steppe hackers that infiltrated the Democratic National Committee's servers and passed along the organization's stolen files to WikiLeaks in order to discredit Hillary Clinton and her party.

Earlier this month, the Huffington Post reported that Stone tweeted and then subsequently deleted an admission on Twitter that he had backchannel access to WikiLeaks founder and Editor Julian Assange.

According to The Smoking Gun, when asked asked if he had ever exchanged private Twitter direct messages with Guccifer 2.0, Stone replied in a text, “don't recall.” Stone reportedly also told TSG that he thought any past communications he had had with Guccifer 2.0 was done publicly "for the world to see." Stone, has historically dismissed the prevailing theory that the DNC was hacked by the Kremlin, TSG reported.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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