U.S. cyber personnel deployed to Montenegro to gather intel for elections

Ilustracija, foto: US Embassy Podgorica

A team of U.S. cyber personnel has been deployed to Montenegro to work with Montenegrin counterparts in order to counter malicious cyber actors on critical networks and platforms. The U.S. Embassy in Montenegro announced this last week without providing more information on the teams, writes Pobjeda daily.

The U.S. specialized security portal CyberScoop revealed new details in its research, suggesting that it’s about a mission known as “Hunt Forward” operations and is relatively new for Cyber Command.

“Last year, along with Montenegro, Cyber Command also deployed its personnel to Ukraine and North Macedonia to gain insights into adversarial cyberthreats in preparation for the 2018 midterm elections,“ Ms Shannon Vavra wrote in the article “Pentagon again deploying cyber personnel abroad to gather intel for 2020 elections”.

This mission, the article says, typically sends anywhere between five and 30 U.S. service members to hunt for malware at a time and “is broadly defined as an intelligence-gathering one and a protection one.“

CyberScoop reminded that both Montenegro and the U.S. have been targeted by the Russian government-linked hacking outfit APT28 or Fancy Bear.

“If Cyber Command uncovers similar activity again in Montenegro, those insights could inform decisions on how to safeguard the U.S.“

During his recent visit to Podgorica, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. has been able to protect against the latest Russian malware as a direct result of insights gathered from last year’s collaboration with Montenegro.

“The Montenegro mission is the only Hunt Forward operation ongoing right now. Earlier this year Cyber Command told reporters it had ongoing deployments abroad with multiple allies, which it declined to name. These have each ended at this time,“ the article said.




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