Report: Russians said hack Ukrainian gas firm in mid of impeachment
MOSCOW, Jan 14 (PRIME) -- With U.S. President Donald Trump facing an impeachment trial over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son Hunter Biden, Russian military hackers have been boring into Ukrainian gas company Burisma at the center of the affair, the New York Times reported late Monday.
The hacking attempts against Burisma, on whose board Hunter Biden served, began in early November 2019, as talk of the Bidens, Ukraine and impeachment was dominating the news in the U.S., the daily said, quoting security experts.
It is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for. But the experts say the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens, the same kind of information that Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment.
The Russian tactics are strikingly similar to what U.S. intelligence agencies say was RussiaТs hacking of e-mails from Hillary ClintonТs campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign.
In that case, once they had the e-mails, the Russians used trolls to spread and spin the material, and built an echo chamber to widen its effect.
Then, as now, the Russian hackers from a military intelligence unit known formerly as the GRU and to private researchers by the alias УFancy Bear,Ф used so-called phishing e-mails that appear designed to steal usernames and passwords, according to Area 1, the Silicon Valley security firm that detected the hacking.
In this instance, the hackers set up fake websites that mimicked sign-in pages of Burisma subsidiaries, and have been blasting Burisma employees with e-mails meant to look like they are coming from inside the company.
The hackers fooled some of them into handing over their login credentials, and managed to get inside one of BurismaТs servers, Area 1 said.
Neither the Russian government nor Burisma responded to requests for comment.
U.S. officials are warning that the Russians have grown stealthier since 2016, and are again seeking to steal and spread damaging information and target vulnerable election systems ahead of the 2020 election.