Hackers are often shadowy, anonymous figures, known only by the crimes they commit. “Guccifer 2.0” shot to stardom after he hacked the Democratic National Committee and released their entire report on Donald Trump. Guccifer 2.0 took his name from another hacker, Guccifer, who famously released a retired George W. Bush’s forays into painting and claimed to have hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server. The original Guccifer, a Romanian named Marce Lehel, was widely identified in the media after his arrest, but until now, we didn’t know much about his spiritual successor. Today, Guccifer 2.0 took to his personal blog in an attempt to answer frequently asked questions about his personal life and political views, attempting to convince readers that he is not, in fact, a Russian hacker working for the Kremlin.
Guccifer 2.0’s original hack exposed 200 pages of reports from the DNC about the presumptive Republican nominee, as well as a list of financial donors, and sent him whirling into the public eye. He’s always claimed to be working alone, and wanted to be very sure that no one accused him of also being a woman.
“I’m a man,” he wrote. “I’ve never met a female hacker of the highest level. Girls, don’t get offended, I love you.”
The biggest point of contention is Guccifer 2.0’s ties to the Russian Federation. Both the DNC and the American security firm CrowdStrike claim that Guccifer 2.0 is working for Russia. Guccifer vehemently denies this.
“It seems the guys from CrowdStrike and the DNC would say I’m a Russian bear even if I were a catholic nun in fact,” he wrote. “At first I was annoyed and disappointed. But now I realize they have nothing else to say. There’s no other way to justify their incompetence and failure. It’s much easier for them to accuse powerful foreign special services. wrote in a blog post further denying the claims. They just fucked up! They can prove nothing! All I hear is blah-blah-blah, unfounded theories and somebody’s estimates.”
Instead, Guccifer 2.0 says that the paranoia over Kremlin-backed superhackers is just a scam by the Russian security company Kaspersky Lab, owned by one of Russia’s richest tech billionaires, Eugene Kaspersky. The Russians, he says, aren’t as sophisticated as Western media makes them out to be at times.
“It was the Russian company Kaspersky Lab that was the first to start a myth about the almighty Russian hackers,” He wrote. “It’s a fucking awesome advertisement. They mean that only the Russian antivirus company is able to cope with Russian hackers! Bingo!”
Guccifer 2.0 claims he performed the hack just to acquire fame and a following in the hacker community as one of the best in the world.
“Now I have my own fans who put me in a line with Assange and Snowden, so my bet has played I think,” he wrote, and explained that he waited to publish the documents for “an appropriate moment to speak loud.”
But CrowdStrike, the digital security firm hired to help protect the DNC, isn’t buying it. Guccifer 2.0’s story doesn’t really add up to him being a lone hacker. CrowdStrike knows that a group of Russian agents was inside the DNC computer system for an entire year before the firm was hired and kicked them out in mid-June of 2016. Guccifer 2.0 also says he has lost access to the DNC network — and it wasn’t until after the hackers were kicked out of the servers and the attacks were made public that Guccifer 2.0 popped up online to take credit. Until about June 15, he was a complete unknown on the web.
CrowdStrike said it is investigating whether the hacker’s public statements are part of a Russian disinformation campaign or just a lone hacker looking to steal credit, but as of June 15, they said their internal findings that Guccifer 2.0 was connected to Russian intelligence services had not changed.
Regardless, Guccifer 2.0’s full post is quite a read. He is definitely anti-Hillary, and referred to Donald Trump as “sincere in what he says,” with a “straight and clear” position that was nevertheless wrong on immigration. He also posted another round of documents, mostly relating to travel expenses, investments by the Clinton Foundation, and internal memos. While it seems as if Guccifer and the (possibly Russian) other hackers are out of the DNC’s networks, they most likely have plenty more documents ready for release.
Photos via David McNew/Getty Images), Mario Tama/Getty Images