The New York Times is running damage control of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign after news reached the American media that a suspected hacking incident successfully recovered information from the Ukrainian gas company. Burisma Holdings, the company in question, was thrust into the spotlight for giving Hunter Biden a lucrative spot on its board of directors.
This news could not come at a worse time for a faltering Biden campaign which has been plagued by a series of creepy blunders and gaffes and is feeling the threat of a Bernie Sanders surge.
Russians appear to be re-running their 2016 hacking playbook, once again to benefit Donald Trump.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 14, 2020
Will the media play along again?
Will the GOP open the door again?
Will the Russians help pick our POTUS again? https://t.co/cfVPcqbY5w
According to the report published by Area 1, a Silicon Valley cyber security firm, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Army (GRU) engaged in an effort to phish login information from subsidiaries belonging to Burisma Holdings. There is currently no word on what was obtained from the hack.
A months-long hacking effort bears fruit?
The campaign, which began in November of last year, gave GRU operatives access to internal systems and data. Using email credentials from employees working for subsidiaries of Burisma, the GRU set up multiple fake websites with similar domains and then began spamming employees with login alerts. A number of their targets took the bait, entering their username and password information.
If the greatest fears of the leftist-aligned New York Times translate into reality, we could be seeing a batch of emails implicating Hunter Biden released in the weeks to come. Already, liberals are taking to social media trying to lay seeds of doubt about the authenticity of any forthcoming leaks, claiming that Russian agents are likely to plant fake emails among real ones. The damage control efforts are underway and as transparent as can be.
The complete analysis of the hacking effort, courtesy of Area 1, can be read here.
It is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for. But the experts say the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens — the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment.
The Russian tactics are strikingly similar to what American intelligence agencies say was Russia’s hacking of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign. In that case, once they had the emails, the Russians used trolls to spread and spin the material, and built an echo chamber to widen its effect.
Then, as now, the Russian hackers from a military intelligence unit known formerly as the G.R.U., and to private researchers by the alias “Fancy Bear,” used so-called phishing emails that appear designed to steal usernames and passwords, according to Area 1, the Silicon Valley security firm that detected the hacking. In this instance, the hackers set up fake websites that mimicked sign-in pages of Burisma subsidiaries, and have been blasting Burisma employees with emails meant to look like they are coming from inside the company.