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There have been reports that American technology and cyber security experts have claimed that Russia is behind the recent cyber attacks on the United States, notably those aimed at influencing the current U.S. presidential election.

Can these experts make these claims with 100% certainty? Why or why not?

  • Simple answer: No you can't. You can make your best guess using the information you have available, but in most cases you never know if these informations are misguiding you intentionally. I don't know this case enough to ensure they are certain about source location. A lot of attacks are made from compromised servers located in diverse countries. How to ensure source location on this case? almost impossible. – RF03 Oct 20 '16 at 3:03
  • You can't. And there are actually lots of resources which explain this to you, just google for "attribution of cyber attacks". – Steffen Ullrich Oct 20 '16 at 6:06
  • Interestingly this is a geopoltical case of two opposites with the same agenda. Hilary lost due to the FBI email activities and the way the FBI handled that was...er, amazing, it was as if the FBI didn't want her as there CIC. But also, the Russians really don't want her as the next POTUS, so the government machinery can then blast the media with lots of crap about how the Russians are doing this and that to blow hillary out the running. – Martin Jan 5 '17 at 21:34
  • What is more concerning is if this is was actually true, the US gov'm't cyber folks would be in a situation where anyone with a IT skill and enough time and money can choose political leaders of the USA, so if the worlords of Africa got their act together, got themselves some Dells and their child soldiers learnt some Treehouse IT skills (i jest, but you get my point), they can choose the next POTUS. It's all very well blaming the Russians, but as the objective has been reached [Trump], it's telling that the USA are not looking at how it happened and how to prevent future repetitions. – Martin Jan 5 '17 at 21:36
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Can these experts make these claims with 100% certainty? Why or why not?

You can almost never prove anything 100%, but for all intents and purposes you can be quite certain. Can we know for sure the Shadow Brokers leak was legit? No, but we can conclude any other option would be highly impractical.

But the American government is not providing that level of proof for the situation you mention. I have yet to see a shred of technical evidence of this particular statement.

Say, the american government suspects someone of hacking a presidential candidate. They could probably easily compromise their node with tools from the intelligence community. This would provide proof, and it would make all the bellicose rhetoric sound a lot less insane.

As far as i can tell, the most solid reasoning in this case is:

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” -James Clapper

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