Russian Military Intelligence Behind Spate of New Cyber Attacks
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
In a reminder that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is no friend of the United States or capitalism, recent reporting has uncovered that Russian’s military intelligence branch, the GRU has been behind a series of cyberattacks targeting American “organizations ranging from government agencies to critical infrastructure.” Included in that list: an attempt to steal data on potential coronavirus vaccines.
The more recent rounds of attacks have been going on for at least two years:
From December 2018 until at least May of this year, the GRU hacker group known as APT28 or Fancy Bear carried out a broad hacking campaign against US targets, according to an FBI notification sent to victims of the breaches in May and obtained by WIRED. According to the FBI, the GRU hackers primarily attempted to break into victims’ mail servers, Microsoft Office 365 and email accounts, and VPN servers. The targets included “a wide range of US-based organizations, state and federal government agencies, and educational institutions,” the FBI notification states. And technical breadcrumbs included in that notice reveal that APT28 hackers have targeted the US energy sector, too, apparently as part of the same effort.
In 2018, a federal grand jury indicted seven GRU officials on charges of “computer hacking, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.”
Most recently, the GRU’s hacking unit has been trying to steal data from U.S., U.K, and Canadian drug companies working on a coronavirus vaccine in order to jump-start Russia’s own vaccine efforts.
There’s another major player in the hacking/intellectual theft game: China.
The F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, accused China last week of “working to compromise American health care organizations” conducting Covid-19 research.
“Russia is not alone,” said John Hultquist, the senior director of intelligence analysis at FireEye, a Silicon Valley cybersecurity firm. “A lot of people are in this game even if they haven’t been called out yet. The whole pandemic is absolutely riddled with spies.”
Image Credit: By Edi Wibowo [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons