Russian hackers target Ukrainian company central to Trump's impeachment

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2020

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.

The U.S. president has since been charged with abuse of office and obstruction of Congress by the Democratic-led House of Representatives, which is scheduled on January 14 to vote on the timing of when to send the articles of impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial on whether to remove him from office.

That's about two months after a whistleblower complaint was made that accused Trump of pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens.

"Our report doesn't make any claims as to what the intent of the hackers were, what they might have been looking for, what they are going to do with their success".

"Area 1 Security has also further connected this GRU phishing campaign to another phishing campaign targeting a media organization founded" by Zelensky, the report said. In an interview Friday, he told the Associated Press that top candidates for the USA presidency and House and Senate races in 2020 have in the last few months been targeted by about 1,000 phishing emails.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and has been a key figure in Trump's impeachment, said the alleged hacking shows that Russian Federation was still interested in interfering with U.S. elections.

Burisma did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Area 1 Security said that the alleged campaign by the GRU against Burisma Holdings began as early as November. That email instructed Podesta to click a special link to pick out a new password for his Google email account - a process the hackers then monitored, giving them full access to his account. Phished credentials allow attackers both to rifle through a victim's stored email and masquerade as that person.

The hackers used "phishing" emails that are created to steal usernames and passwords, the California-based security firm said.

Falkowitz said the operation targeting Burisma involved tactics, techniques and procedures that GRU agents had used repeatedly in other phishing operations, matching "several patterns that lots of independent researchers agree mimic this particular Russian actor".

Area 1 called the Russian's effort "successful".

Burisma and its subsidiaries share the same email server, Area 1 said, meaning a breach at any of the companies could expose them all. Area 1 co-founder Blake Darche said unpublished data gathered by his firm linked the operation to a specific officer in Moscow, whose identity he was unable to establish.

"You can see this attack really is starting to parallel with what we saw in 2016", Oren Falkowitz, Area 1's chief executive, said in an interview.

Area 1 said its researchers connected the phishing campaign targeting Burisma to an effort earlier a year ago that targeted Kvartal 95, a media organization founded by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Other reports by iNewsToday