Hackers working for the Russian government gained access to the Democratic National Committee’s database of opposition research on Donald Trump, The Washington Post reports. Some of the hackers might have been in the network for a year, with access to all chat logs and email traffic and whatever files of dirt the DNC has collected on Trump—dirt that some analysts say would have become public at some point anyway.
CrowdStrike, which is currently fixing DNC’s network disaster, has identified two hacker groups who have previously attacked government agencies, defense contractors, tech companies, and universities in several countries. The cyber security firm also gave them cute little names: Fancy Bear—which targeted the DNC’s opposition research files and the computers of the entire research staff in late April—and Cozy Bear—which has been spying on DNC’s chats and emails since last summer. Cozy Bear previously compromised White House, State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff’s email systems in 2014. CrowdStrike believes that Fancy Bear works for the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, and isn’t really sure about Cozy Bear, but thinks it’s probably the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service. Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear were not working together, it seems. The Washington Post:
“There’s an amazing adversarial relationship” among the Russian intelligence agencies, [CrowdStrike co-founder and chief technology officer, Dmitri] Alperovitch said. “We have seen them steal assets from one another, refuse to collaborate. They’re all vying for power, to sell Putin on how good they are.”
The hackers weren’t targeting personal, financial or donor information, but appear to have been playing catch-up on a relatively new political threat, stealing homework for the boss.
It’s interesting that the Russian government is so interested in the oppositional research on Donald Trump, as Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort is notorious for his relationships with pro-Russian heavyweights. Among his various questionable engagements, Manafort served as campaign manager for the to-be-ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2010. He was also employed by several oligarchs with close ties to Vladimir Putin, some of whom he may have screwed.