Hacking Attempt Defeated-Cyber Blurring and How it Helped the French Outsmart Russian Hackers

Updated: Nov 7, 2018

Russian hacking and information warfare can be defeated with appropriate preparation, as the incident that occurred during the 2017 French elections has proven Macron’s electoral changes were put in jeopardy after a massive hacking attack. Macron, who was easily the most anti-Russian, pro-NATO and pro-EU candidate, and therefore targeting him made sense. His campaign was, however, not unprepared as the staff had began receiving phishing emails early in the race. These emails were high quality, and appeared to come from actual members of the campaign staff.

However, unlike the Clinton campaign and the DNC, which had minimal security protections and had ignored FBI warnings that its computer system had been penetrated, the French had engaged in “cyber-blurring” to go on the counteroffensive against potential hacking threats. The strategy involved creating false email accounts and filling them with phoney documents. Though this may not have stopped the hackers all together, but did slow them down.

However, the hackers had gotten sloppy- the code that shows the origins of the document could be seen to have passed through Russian computers and been edited by Russian users- leading them to be more easily tracked.

Nevertheless, companies and public individuals should continue to be wary. The failure of the hacks on Macron could push the hackers to improve their methods and change their playbook entirely.