Talking to international media at the St Petersburg Economic Forum on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a number of statement surrounding alleged Russia's involvement in hacking.
If you are not aware, Russia has been the focus of the U.S. investigations for its purported role in interfering with the 2016 US presidential election, which saw several major hacks, including Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign emails.
The US authorities and intelligence community concluded in January that Mr. Putin had personally directed cyber attacks against Democrats and the dissemination of false information in order to influence US election and help Mr. Trump win the election.
Putin: Russia Has Never Been Involved in Hacking
I know you would take some time even to digest this statement, but trust me this one is nothing. You would start laughing after reading his other comments mentioned in this article.
"We don't engage in that at the state level," Mr. Putin said, according to the Associated Press.
"I'm deeply convinced that no hackers can radically influence another country's election campaign," Mr. Putin added. "No hackers can influence election campaigns in any country of Europe, Asia or America."So, Putin, who limits the freedom of the press and is accused of killing political opponents and journalists to prevent them from reporting on topics that can anger the Kremlin, is saying that "no information will change the minds of the people or influence the outcome" of the election.
Putin: Patriotic Hackers May Have Targeted U.S. Election
"If they are patriotically minded, they start making their contributions – which are right, from their point of view – to fight against those who say bad things about Russia," Mr. Putin said.
Is he just encouraging hackers to conduct cyber attacks against rival nations by making such comments?
As for his dealings with US President Donald Trump, Mr. Putin also said Moscow would wait for the current political storm in the United States to settle down before he attempts to forge constructive relations with Mr. Trump, whom he praised for being "straightforward" with "fresh set of eyes."
Putin: Hackers are Like Artists, Who Wake Up and Start Painting!
"Hackers are free people, just like artists who wake up in the morning in a good mood and start painting," Mr. Putin said.
"The hackers are the same, they would wake up, read about something going on in interstate relations and if they have patriotic leanings, they may try to add their contribution to the fight against those who speak badly about Russia."
So, Mr. Putin wants to say that hackers can contribute to their nation by attacking their country's rivals. WOW!
Describing hackers as free-spirited artists acting according to their moods, Mr. Putin said cyber attacks on DNC and Hillary Clinton presidential campaign could be made to look like they had come from Russia when they hadn't actually.
"I can imagine that some do it deliberately, staging a chain of attacks in such a way as to cast Russia as the origin of such an attack," Mr. Putin added. "Modern technologies allow that to be done quite easily."
Mr. Putin's remarks are similar to the ones from Mr. Trump, who has previously dismissed accusations of Russian involvement in the DNC hack and said that the hacks could be by "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."
While Mr. Putin may deny the hacking allegations, which he believes are "not based on facts," many cyber security and espionage experts have discovered that Russia has in the past "outsourced" its hacking efforts to state-sponsored criminal gangs.