Russian hackers targeted Republican National Committee: report

RNC spokesman Mike Reed said days ago, "There is no indication the RNC was hacked or any RNC information was stolen," but a security review is ongoing.

Nick Monroe Cleveland Ohio

A Russian government-linked group called Cozy Bear targeted the computer systems of the Republican National Committee last week, taking advantage of the moment when a separate gang of Russia-linked criminal hackers at REvil hit over 1,000 targets in a ransomware attack, according to Bloomberg News.

In the case of the former, Bloomberg News didn't make it immediately clear whether or not data was stolen. A spokesman for the Republican National Committee denied its systems were breached in an earlier statement Saturday.

"Microsoft informed us that one of our vendors, Synnex, systems may have been exposed. There is no indication the RNC was hacked or any RNC information was stolen. We are investigating the matter and have informed DHS and the FBI," said Republican National Committee spokesperson Mike Reed.

Two sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that the hackers are suspected to have attacked the RNC through Fremont, California-based Synnex.

Synnex said via press release that "it is aware of a few instances where outside actors have attempted to gain access, through Synnex, to customer applications within the Microsoft cloud environment."

"As our review continues, we are unable to provide any specific details," said Michael Urban, president of worldwide technology solutions distribution at Synnex told Bloomberg News. "As with any security issue, a full review of all companies, systems, third-party applications and related IT solutions must be completed before final determinations can be made."

The Cozy Bear group is said to be affiliated with Russian's foreign intelligence service, and its track record includes accusations of being behind the Democratic National Committee hack of 2016, as well as the more recent SolarWinds attack that hit nine US government agencies.

In the case of the latter ransomware attack from REvil, President Joe Biden expressed confidence about the minimal damage it did to US businesses.

"I can tell you a couple of things. I received an update from a national security team this morning. It appears to have caused minimal damage to US businesses but we're still gathering information to the full extent of the attack and I'm going to have more to say about this in the next several days," Biden said when asked about the latest ransomware attack. "We're getting more detail and information ... And I feel good about our ability to be able to respond."

Bloomberg News added that REvil's ransom demand was $70 million sent via Bitcoin—something that's more of a concern after the targeting of the Colonial Pipeline and the world's largest meatpacking plant earlier in the year.

Cyber warfare was at the forefront of attention when Biden and Russian Peader Vladimir Putin met last month. It was at that meeting that Biden threatened retaliation if Putin were to attack "critical" facilities in America.


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