Friday, March 10, 2017

The strange case of the Trump Organization computer. Another piece in the Trump/Russia collusion puzzle? Perhaps.

Courtesy of CNN:

Last year, a small group of computer scientists obtained internet traffic records from the complex system that serves as the internet's phone book. Access to these records is reserved for highly trusted cybersecurity firms and companies that provide this lookup service. 

These signals were captured as they traveled along the internet's Domain Name System (DNS). 

These leaked records show that Alfa Bank servers repeatedly looked up the unique internet address of a particular Trump Organization computer server in the United States.

Alfa Bank is of course a Russian bank, but I bet you figured that out all on your own.

And what did this small group of computer scientists find that troubles them so?

From May 4 until September 23, the Russian bank looked up the address to this Trump corporate server 2,820 times -- more lookups than the Trump server received from any other source. 

As noted, Alfa Bank alone represents 80% of the lookups, according to these leaked internet records.

Well, isn't THAT interesting?

That is a hell of a lot of lookups just to be a coincidence, but that is exactly how the Alfa Bank characterized them:  

Alfa Bank has maintained that the most likely explanation is that the server communication was the result of spam marketing. Bank executives have stayed at Trump hotels, so it's possible they got subsequent spam marketing emails from the Trump Organization. Those emails might have set off defensive cybersecurity measures at the bank, whose servers would respond with a cautious DNS lookup. Alfa Bank said it used antispam software from Trend Micro, whose tools would do a DNS lookup to know the source of the spam.

2,820 responses to spam in less than five months?  That really does not pass the smell test:  

"If it were spam, then a lot of other organizations would be doing DNS lookups. There would be evidence of widespread connectivity with devices," said L. Jean Camp, a computer scientist at Indiana University who has studied the data.

Now here is the other suspicious puzzle piece:  

Far back in second place, with 714 such lookups, was a company called Spectrum Health. 

Spectrum is a medical facility chain led by Dick DeVos, the husband of Betsy DeVos, who was appointed by Trump as U.S. education secretary. 

Together, Alfa and Spectrum accounted for 99% of the lookups.

Spectrum Health joined with Alfa Bank in claiming that it was all spam related. 

Nothing to see here, just move along.

Not so fast.

I am not sure what this means exactly, but if you developed a spam program to increase business and it only targeted two businesses, that would seem like a real waste of money in my book.

So I would agree with these computer scientists that this deserves a lot more scrutiny.

And it might very well have been receiving it since it was this server that Louise Mensch identified as the trigger which caused the FBI to seek a FISA warrant.


  1. Anonymous8:44 AM

    How much of this drip, drip, drip until something happens or someone does something? This is getting ridiculous. Seems like the CIA or FBI has the goods but isn't sharing it with anyone who can stop it. SO FRUSTRATING!

  2. Anonymous8:47 AM

    This was reported on last year by Slate and some others, like the Palmer Report. I read about it then. Now it turns out on MSM?

    I think the Trumpster & Co.'s days might be numbered, with so muck leaking out about Russian ties.


    1. Anonymous10:36 AM

      Thanks to people here on IM, I know about the Palmer Report and now check it out every day. I love how Rachel is handling her show and how it has a Palmer report/Malcolm Nance quality to it that can't be shaken.

  3. Anonymous8:50 AM

    "These pretzels are making me thirsty!"

  4. Anonymous9:04 AM

    Fox Anchor Rips Trump Administration: ‘There’s Been A Lot Of Lying’

    ...Meanwhile, Smith laid into Trump:

    SMITH: There’s been a lot of lying. There’s been lying about who you talk to and by lots of people. And almost inevitably and invariably, they were lying about talking to the Russians about something. It’s too much lying and too much Russia and too much smoke and now they’re investigating.


    The president, as far as I can tell, hasn’t answered questions on anything from reporters since this Russia story began building. He’s said Russia is a ruse, that it’s all fake news, but leaks are real – something that really can’t live together.

  5. Anonymous9:06 AM

    Rachel Maddow Would Like To Scare The Shit Out Of You Now

    ...But on Wednesday night, Rachel Maddow went over something people aren’t really talking about, but they should be. Remember that thing the other day when NBC/MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell became our Hero Journalist of the Day for the first time in her life? She was at the State Department trying in vain to ask Secretary Rex Tillerson how he plans to do his job considering Donald Trump wants to slash the hell out of department funding, Tillerson can’t even seem to get a deputy, State isn’t doing briefings like it used to, and oh yeah, Trump and Tillerson have been effing CLEANING HOUSE, getting rid of career foreign service officers that have been there for DECADES. If by “drain the swamp,” Trump meant “literally destroy one of the most important, longest standing departments of the U.S. government,” then that mission is being accomplished!

    Maddow talked about all the things State does to support democracy and human rights around the world, including supporting dissident movements in nations like, well, you know, RUSSIA, and how if there is one part our American-ly Exceptionalist System Vladimir Putin would probably like to see destroyed, it’s State. It was mean terrible Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, after all, who in 2011 called Russia’s bullshit parliamentary elections out for the sham bullshit elections they were, and Russians were taking to the streets protesting the regime in power. Putin blamed the protests on Hillary, and by extension, on State. As Maddow points out, that infamous Steele Dossier says part of why Putin wanted Hillary to lose was his “fear and hatred” of her, because she was so willing to beat his ass when she was at State.

    Maddow notes that Tillerson, the man from Exxon who holds Clinton’s former position, is a guy who had never met Donald Trump before he was nominated, but he sure as hell was already pals with Uncle Vlad Putin, having been awarded Russia’s Order Of Friendship in 2013. Putin gave it to Tillerson himself! Of course Tillerson’s Exxon also did YOOGE DEALS with Russia’s state-owned oil company Rosneft. (Yes, that’s the same Rosneft that Trump stooge Carter Page attended meetings with, about the sale of 19.5% of the company to — ??? — in exchange for a loosening of U.S. sanctions. The Trump campaign, having originally denied that Page took that trip, now admits it. After the election, 19.5% of Rosneft was indeed sold to ???. FUNNY!)


    1. Anonymous9:48 AM

      And who from the Bush admin said Tillerson was a good guy... Rice, Baker (who has direct ties to some of the same people Trump's surrogates do), Gates. ALL have ties to Exxon... you wonder how deep and far back this Russian shit goes. With trump it goes back to the 80's. Were the Bushes into the shit too?
      Did the wall come down so that the US billionaires and oil companies could rape Russia and now they are returning the favor?

    2. Anonymous10:33 AM

      Rice is an Exxon employee now. She'd say anything.

    3. Anonymous10:39 AM

      Tillerson is disgusting. No one in such a position never talks to the press and also just flat-out ignores every question and just stands there smiling. Yes, we've had SoSes who would stop answering after a couple questions or who'd say they weren't taking questions, but Tillerson just fucking stands there and acts like he doesn't see or hear anybody.

  6. Anonymous10:03 AM

    How Russia might end up owning US oil:

  7. Anonymous10:25 AM

    OT this is breathtaking- GOP bill makes genetic testing mandatory at work and employers can see the results

  8. Anonymous10:30 AM

    Donald Trump administration suppresses cause of death of Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin

    Trump administration incorrectly claims “diplomatic immunity”

    Last month Vitaly Churkin, the longtime Russian Ambassador to the United Nations, suddenly dropped dead in New York. His death was only suspicious in the sense that he was the seventh Russian diplomat or operative to have dropped dead since Donald Trump’s Russia scandal exploded (and there’s since been an eighth). But now there’s real cause for suspicion regarding Churkin, because Trump’s own State Department has apparently intervened to prevent his cause of death from becoming public.

    The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has released a statement claiming that the New York City Law Department has instructed it not to publicly disclose the cause of manner of Vitaly Churkin’s death. Why? It’s claiming that he still has diplomatic immunity. But this makes no sense on any level. For one thing, legal consensus is that diplomatic immunity ends with death. Additionally, diplomatic immunity is meant to protect diplomats from being falsely accused of crimes as political ploys by their host nations. So unless Churkin died while in the process of committing a crime himself, the concept wouldn’t legally apply.

    Even more surreal, the statement from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner goes on to blame the “United States Department of State” for having invoked Churkin’s diplomatic immunity to assure that his cause of death doesn’t come out publicly, and asks that any further inquiries be directed there. But the Department of State is run by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has deep financial connections to Russia, and answers directly to Donald Trump.

    In other words, Donald Trump’s State Department is incorrectly invoking diplomatic immunity in laughably invalid fashion in an effort to prevent the public from learning how Vitaly Churkin died. Considering that Churkin is the eighth prominent Russian to drop dead since the Trump-Russia scandal hit the headlines, that alone is suspicious and suggests the Trump administration is now trying to cover up the deaths of the Russians. You can read the Coronor’s Office statement here.

    1. Anonymous1:58 PM

      I am waiting for the russian ambassador to suddenly kick the bucket.

  9. Anonymous10:32 AM

    OT, but just more f'ing bullshit from the Trump camp and its Russian buddies and, yes, the Trump butt-kissing half-brother of our former president. They all continue to create BS and float it around. Of course Trump's loving this. He's such a worthless scumbag POS. If there was a god, we'd be put out of our misery with today being Lardass' last day on this earth:

  10. Anonymous10:49 AM

    DeVos' Spectrum is a front for a hacker group based in the US

  11. Anonymous11:21 AM

    Rachel Maddow Beats Fox News And Finishes #1 By Hammering Trump/Russia Scandal

    MSNBC's Rachel Maddow's special on the Trump/Russia scandal beat Fox News to be the most watched program on cable news regarding overall viewers and in the age 25-54 demographic for the 9 PM hour.

  12. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Trump Kicks Reporters Out Of White House Photo Op For Asking Questions

    President Trump's security chief kicked reporters out of a White House photo op because they tried to do their jobs and ask the President questions.

    ...The White House apparently expects reporters not to question the president or members of his administration. Members of the press are supposed to stand there quietly and take down what Trump has to say without questioning a word.

    Trump’s has gone dark and not taken any questions from reporters since his claim last week that President Obama wiretapped him during the presidential campaign. This is not a president who wants to be held accountable by either the press or the American people.

    The message to reporters is that they question Trump at their own risk.

    If reporters dare to ask a question, they should prepare to be yelled at or kicked out, because the White House no longer belongs to the people. The White House is being treated like it is the personal property of Donald Trump.

  13. Anonymous11:24 AM

    Sean Hannity Asks WikiLeaks to Help Blame Russian Hacking on the CIA

    "In which Sean Hannity looks for a way to blame Americans for an attack on America that was carried out by Russia. "

    So yes, just as Donald Trump asked Putin to hack Hillary Clinton, Hannity is now asking WikiLeaks to blame Russian hacking on our own intelligence agancy, the CIA.

  14. Anonymous11:26 AM

    Red State Idiocy: The 10 States Who Will Lose The Most Under Trumpcare All Voted For Trump

  15. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Russia’s state-sponsored TV network Russia Today (RT) tried to target CNN’s Jake Tapper, which prompted him to repeatedly share ugly facts about how Russia treats opponents.

    “How interesting that Russia’s government funded propaganda channel is targeting me. Why would that be?,” Tapper asked while drowning their propaganda efforts with human rights watch facts.

    ...RT couldn’t find any real dirt on Tapper apparently so they went for the basement hope of creating drama over Tapper actually responding to people on Twitter, like… you know… journalists who aren’t working for the government in a propaganda service might do.

  16. Anonymous11:31 AM

    Sean Spicer Just Gave Trump Credit For Something Obama Did, White House DESPERATE (TWEET)

  17. Anonymous11:33 AM

    The White House press corps erupted in laughter when White House press secretary Sean Spicer admitted that President Donald Trump doesn’t really believe that job reports from the Labor Department are fake.

    The Labor Department on Friday released a strong jobs report showing the US economy added 235,000 jobs in February. During his White House press briefing later in the day, Spicer was asked about Trump’s previous claims that positive job reports under the Obama administration were “phony or totally fiction.”

    “I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote them very clearly. They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now,” Spicer replied, prompting laughter from reporters in the room.

    “I know it was delivered as a laugh line from Sean and got laughter in the room from reporters — I’m not so sure all of America will laugh at that,” CNN political director David Chalian said afterward.

    “It is an admission of blatant hypocrisy,” he continued. “I mean, it’s like the most traditional politician thing you could do — which is not Donald Trump’s brand necessarily — to say that when it is not in my favor I’m going to say this, and when it is in my favor, I’m going to say that. That is the thing about politicians most people in the country don’t like. So I don’t know it is necessarily a joke. It is a total admission of blatant hypocrisy.”

  18. Anonymous11:35 AM

    State Department ordered New York medical examiner to conceal Russian diplomat’s cause of death


  19. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Little-noticed House Republican bill would let employers demand workers’ genetic test results

    A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information.

    Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a "workplace wellness" program.

    The bill, HR 1313, was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, with all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed. It has been overshadowed by the debate over the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the genetic testing bill is expected to be folded into a second ACA-related measure containing a grab-bag of provisions that do not affect federal spending, as the main bill does.

    "What this bill would do is completely take away the protections of existing laws," said Jennifer Mathis, director of policy and legal advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a civil rights group. In particular, privacy and other protections for genetic and health information in GINA and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act "would be pretty much eviscerated," she said.

  20. Anonymous11:43 AM

    Kremlin abruptly scaled back Trump praise due to the threat posed by his instability, say reports

    ...Savodnik said that the reason for the Kremlin’s change of heart — and thereby Russian media’s change of heart — is not entirely clear, although it’s likely that Moscow has concerns about Trump’s inner circle.

    “Defense Secretary James Mattis is hardly pro-Russia. Rex Tillerson, who Putin personally awarded the Russian Order of Friendship, appears, for now, to have been marginalized. Michael Flynn is gone, and the new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, is hawkish on Russia,” said Savodnik. “The new C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, opened up his Senate confirmation hearing, in January, by lambasting the Kremlin for interfering in the 2016 election. And now Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, appears to have lied by omission about meeting the Russian ambassador, and has since recused himself from any investigation into ties between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.”

    Troublesome aides can be dispensed with easily enough, however, as Savodnik said, “One expects the FSB [Russia’s top spy agency, formerly the KGB] has enough intel on everyone in the White House, including the president, to ruin anyone deemed uncooperative.”

    No, what is worrying top Russian officials, Savodnik said, is the hysterical devotion of Trump’s base.

    “Among Republicans, and especially among the lumpenproletariat, the people who believe they’ve been left out, the permanently aggrieved, every insult that Trump hurls at Clinton or Nordstrom or the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is justified and poetic—it is what has been coming for a long time,” he wrote.

    He continued, “For much of his base, Donald Trump is the biblical flood come to America, and even if a lot of people might drown, that’s O.K. In fact, that may be the point.”

    “Of course, that’s insane, and even though many of Trump’s voters may not appreciate that, the Russian president presumably does. Putin is terrified of instability,” Savodnik explained.

    Trump’s ascent was in truth a catastrophe, he said, and the Kremlin knows it.

    “It was a catastrophe not because of the election, not because of anything political. That was the least of it. It was a catastrophe because it simultaneously illuminated and kindled a darkness, a rot, deep in the American psyche. The Kremlin and its media puppets may not grasp the etiology of this curdling, but they must be aware, by this late date, that something bad is happening in America, and it will spill over, across the oceans and continents, and it will upset, upend, discombobulate everything everywhere,” Savodnik warned.

    He concluded, “An infant is now the most powerful person on Earth, and he is loved and worshipped by millions, and they think he will save them, that he is He, that the end is near, and so is the beginning. Until a few minutes ago, the Kremlin higher-ups were laughing. Now, like everyone else who hasn’t been swindled, they wait.”

  21. Anonymous11:44 AM

    And so the national enquirer rag and friend of asho rump has headlines that read. "How Trump is cleaning up Obama's mess" Really? What a f^^king lying dirty rag. So sick of these liars. Show your taxes rump before wiki leaks sets them free for everyone to see. Hear that wiki? snowden? release the goods

  22. Anonymous11:47 AM

    Pooty gonna dump on trump? Better repair relations than pull this crap.

  23. Anonymous11:50 AM

    Alfa Bank was probably funneling illegal campaign donations into the tRump campaign which was run out of tRump tower.

  24. Anonymous12:40 PM


  25. Anonymous1:51 PM


    1. Donald
    2. Melania?
    3. Of course Ivanka
    4. Barron

    5. Ivanka's husband?
    6. Erik?
    7. Erik's wife?
    8. Tiffany??

    9. Donald's father's exhumed body?
    10. Donald's mother's exhumed body?


  26. Chenagrrl1:52 PM

    Finally. Finally. This has been on geek blogs and websites, but FINALLY, MSM is giving it some bright light.

    1. Anonymous3:35 AM

      Yes! That explains a lot. So, maybe DNS tunneling to send data with no obvious record to an analyst other than a DNS lookup. IP over DNS, maybe IODINE or like that? It certainty explains a lot and fills a missing piece of the puzzle. I have to find some of these geek sites. Fascinating.

  27. Anonymous1:54 PM

    Interesting that a Russian bank would be using Trend Micro instead of the russian company Kaspersky for internet security.

    Quite a few people in my cybersecurity classes said they used Kaspersky because of the time zone differences, they would get updates sooner than with other companies. Personally I never trusted them.


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