A Sil­i­con Val­ley-based secu­ri­ty firm called Area1 says it has found indi­ca­tions that state-spon­sored Russ­ian hack­ers have suc­cess­ful­ly hacked the Ukran­ian gas com­pa­ny Buris­ma, as first report­ed by the The New York Times. The com­pa­ny has tak­en on a cen­tral role in US pol­i­tics because of its con­nec­tion to Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner Joe Biden, whose son Hunter sits on the company’s board.

In July, Pres­i­dent Trump asked Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment to inves­ti­gate Buris­ma to find dam­ag­ing infor­ma­tion on the Biden fam­i­ly, alleged­ly threat­en­ing to with­hold mil­i­tary aid to the coun­try if the prime min­is­ter did not announce an inves­ti­ga­tion. That request is at the cen­ter of the president’s ongo­ing impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings, and has made Buris­ma a tempt­ing tar­get for any­one seek­ing to med­dle in US pol­i­tics.

Accord­ing to Area1, the secu­ri­ty firm that detect­ed the attacks, says they detect­ed phish­ing emails sent to Buris­ma employ­ees bear­ing many of the hall­marks of GRU hack­ing cam­paigns. The hack­ers were appar­ent­ly suc­cess­ful in get­ting employ­ee login info they used to gain entry into one of Burisma’s servers, although it is unclear how much infor­ma­tion was obtained. If the GRU is in fact involved, it’s pos­si­ble the group could have been look­ing for embar­rass­ing infor­ma­tion to be released dur­ing the 2020 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

They report­ed­ly gained entry to one Buris­ma serv­er

In hack­ing Buris­ma, the Russ­ian hack­ers could be fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar play­book as what they report­ed­ly did to under­mine Hillary Clinton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign dur­ing the 2016 elec­tion. In Jan­u­ary 2017, US intel­li­gence offi­cials released a report out­lin­ing how that Russ­ian intel­li­gence ser­vices suc­cess­ful­ly hacked the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee and stole infor­ma­tion that was slow­ly and reg­u­lar­ly leaked to the pub­lic to help the cam­paign of then-can­di­date Trump.


US releas­es declas­si­fied report on Russ­ian hack­ing Pho­to by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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