Press Digest: Russian hackers broke into U.S. presidential servers

Russian hackers are being accused of breaking into sensitive parts of the White House computer system in recent months. Source: EPA

Russian hackers are being accused of breaking into sensitive parts of the White House computer system in recent months. Source: EPA

RBTH presents a selection of views from leading Russian media on international events, featuring reports on the alleged hacking of White House computer systems by Russian specialists, the corruption scandal surrounding Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Pakistan’s refusal to join the campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Russian hackers broke into White House computer system

The Gazeta.ru online newspaper reports that Russian hackers have broken into the computer system of the U.S. President's servers. The newspaper quotes CNN as saying that the White House's computer network was penetrated several months ago.

However, official representatives have neither confirmed nor denied CNN's report. Gazeta.ru writes that now the FBI and the secret services are investigating the case. In the words of one State Department representative, the hackers "had possession" of the system for several months. Specialists observed strange activity and tried to disable its sources.

Experts interviewed by Gazeta.ru believe that the Anonymous International group could have operated according to such a scheme. The group has previously published a large quantity of personal correspondence that is thought to belong to members of the Russian Presidential Administration. \

The newspaper reminds its readers that this is not the first attack on government servers: In January the Cyber Caliphate group, claiming affiliation to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, hacked into the Twitter account of the Pentagon's central command, using the platform to publish threats and steal several documents.

Gazeta.ru adds that the American government is seriously worried about the possible penetration of foreign hackers into U.S. government computer systems and private enterprises. Barack Obama has already issued orders to impose financial sanctions against hackers involved in breaking into the White House security systems.

 

Corruption accusations compound Yatsenyuk’s problems in Ukraine

The centrist daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports that Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has found himself in the center of a corruption scandal after an accusation from Nikolai Gordienko, the former head of the State Financial Inspection. The newspaper writes that the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, deems it necessary to investigate the issue, which could develop into a serious political crisis in Ukraine.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta cites Vitaly Bala, director of the Situations Modeling Agency, a Ukrainian political consultancy, as saying that now the government must prove that it remembers the demands of Maidan and is realizing them. "If the slightest violations are proven, even those worth only a hryvnia [the unit of Ukrainian currency – RBTH], the act must be judged severely," says Bala. "The guilty will have to respond to the law."

Bala remarked that the question of the prime minister's resignation should be examined not because of the accusations, but because the country’s citizens are not happy with the government's actions. "Yatsenyuk's rating has fallen from 22 percent to a maximum of 4 percent. People have waited for a year for his reforms." Bala does not believe that a change of prime minister and several other ministers under criticism will result in a political crisis.

 

Pakistan distances itself from commitment to fight Houthis in Yemen

The Kommersant newspaper writes that Saudi Arabia risks losing the support of a key potential ally in the war against Shiite Houthi insurgents, who are increasing in strength in Yemen. Pakistan has reacted negatively to Saudi Arabia's request to send a military contingent to Yemen and support the international operation against the Houthis. According to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Islamabad will not hurry to join the military coalition and even intends to consult Tehran on the issue.

The only thing that Islamabad has guaranteed the Saudi government is the fulfillment of "obligations concerning the protection of the kingdom's territorial integrity from any threat." Kommersant explains that Pakistan's obligations as an ally towards Saudi Arabia do not include reacting immediately to possible escalations in countries bordering the kingdom. Military experts say that the Pakistani army may participate in "the pacification of Yemen" only if such a campaign is financed by the government in Riyadh.

Kommersant underlines that without the support of the most capable army in the region, one that became hardened during its long battles with the Taliban, Riyadh and its allies will find it exceptionally difficult to regain control of the strategic sites along the Yemeni coast seized by the Houthis. In this case, exports of Arab oil may be threatened.

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