Russian hackers infiltrated a Ukrainian gas firm at the center of the impeachment case against President Donald Trump, according to a California-based cybersecurity firm.
The hacking attempts against Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, was a board member, began in early November—soon after the firm surfaced in White House efforts to link the Bidens to alleged corruption, media reports cited by the Center on National Security at Fordham Law said.
It was not clear what the hackers were looking for or what they found, but the report from Area 1 Security, a California-based cybersecurity firm, suggests that the Russians were searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens, according to the reports.
The cybersecurity company linked the breach to the same hacking group overseen by the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency—known as “Fancy Bear”—that breached the Democratic National Committee in 2016 as part of an operation to disrupt that year’s presidential election.
Using tactics similar to those of 2016, the hackers set up fake websites that mimicked sign-in pages of Burisma subsidiaries, blasted Burisma employees with emails meant to look like they are coming from inside the company, and successfully accessed one of the company’s servers.
“The attacks were successful,” Oren Falkowitz, a co-founder of Area 1, who previously served at the National Security Agency, told The New York Times..
Falkowitz’s firm maintains a network of sensors on web servers around the globe — many known to be used by state-sponsored hackers — which gives the firm a front-row seat to phishing attacks, and allows them to block attacks on their customers.