According to security experts, with President Trump awaiting an impeachment trial for his attempts to persuade Ukraine to prosecute former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his friend Hunter Biden, Russian military hackers broke into the Ukrainian gas company at the core of the matter.
Hacking attempts against Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company on whose board served Hunter Biden, began in early November as news in the United States was dominated by talk of Bidens, Ukraine and the prosecution.
It’s still not known what the hackers discovered, or even what they were hunting for. The experts, however, say that the timing and scale for the attacks suggests that Russians could be looking for potentially embarrassing material for Bidens — the same sort of information Mr Trump wanted from Ukraine when he urged Bidens and Burisma to investigate, thus opening a chain of events leading to his prosecution.
The Russian methods are strikingly similar to what US intelligence agencies have said was that during their 2016 presidential campaign Russian emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign leader and Democratic National Committee were hacked. In that case the Russians used bots to distribute and distort the information once they had the data, and created an echo chamber to expand the influence.
Now, as now, the Russian hackers from a military intelligence organization previously known as the G.R.U., and the pseudonym “Fancy Bear” to private researchers, used so-called phishing emails that tend to capture usernames and passwords, according to Area 1, the Silicon Valley security firm that discovered the intrusion. In this instance, the hackers set up fake websites mimicking Burisma subsidiaries ‘ sign-in pages and blasting emails to Burisma employees to look like they’re coming from within the company.
Some of them were tricked by the hackers in handing over their login credentials and managed to get into one of Burisma’s servers, said Area 1.
“The timing of the Russian campaign mirrors the G.R.U. hacks we saw in 2016 against the D.N.C. and John Podesta,” the Clinton campaign chairman, Mr. Falkowitz said. “Once again, they are stealing email credentials, in what we can only assume is a repeat of Russian interference in the last election.”
After meeting President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in July 2018, the President triggered wide alarm in Washington and seemed to accept Putin’s denial of Russian meddling.
Trump pushed Kyiv to examine a debunked Kremlin conspiracy theory, which Biden, one of the Democrats that would most likely challenge Trump for the white home in November, tried to quash Burisma’s graft sample to protect his son, in July 2019, with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
The GRU— a military intelligence agency— infiltrated the Burisma Holdings files, stated region 1, but they did not find or aim for it.
“According to a new report, they’re hacking information that could be a prelude to more election interference in 2020. And again, it appears aimed to help Trump.”
The report was released with Trump expected to take place early this week in the Senate on two articles of indictment — abuse of power and congressional interference.