Russian agents hacked company key to Trump Ukraine scandal

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2020

It is unclear what the hackers were looking for, or what they found. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden once sat on the board for Burisma. "We just point out that this is a campaign that's going on", said Falkowitz, a former National Security Agency offensive hacker whose company's clients include candidates for USA federal elected offices.

"The timing of the GRU's campaign in relation to the 2020 United States elections raises the spectre that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 U.S. elections", Area 1 co-founders Oren J Falkowitz and Blake Darche said in the eight-page document.

A US cybersecurity company says Russian military agents successfully hacked the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the scandal that led to US President Donald Trump's impeachment.

The alleged Russian hackers have repeatedly made headlines in Western media since 2016.

The big picture: Experts tell the Times the hackers may have been searching for embarrassing information about the Bidens, though it's not yet known what - if anything - they uncovered.

On 18 December, the Dem-controlled House impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, for freezing military aid to press Ukraine to probe political rival Biden.

"The story goes on note that this latest hack, which used phishing emails to trick Burisma officials into revealing their internal usernames and passwords, is" strikingly similar" in tactics to the March 2016 attack perpetrated by the GRU against the DNC, which unearthed a massive trove of emails from candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.

Stolen emails were released online at the time by Russian agents and WikiLeaks in an effort to favor Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller determined in his investigation. He said he followed the industry standard process of responsible disclosure, which would include notifying Burisma. The purported perpetrators are said to have created fake websites, emulating login pages of Burisma's subsidiary offices, according to Area 1. Based on this vague assumption, Area 1 concluded that the supposed Russian hackers were behind the cyberattack on Burisma. "To discover it and potentially get out in front of it is a significant departure from what's typical in the cyber security community, where someone just tells you, yeah, you're dead". Phished credentials allow attackers both to rifle through a victim's stored email and masquerade as that person.

"The Russian attacks on Burisma appear to be running parallel to an effort by Russian spies in Ukraine to dig up information in the analog world that could embarrass the Bidens", the Times quotes a USA security official saying.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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