Republican National Committee denies hacks by Russians

The Republican Party denied reports alleging that Russian government hackers violated the Republican National Committee last week.

Republican spokeswoman Danielle Alvarez said on Twitter that a report by the Bloomberg news agency on Tuesday, alleging that Russian-led hackers violated the RNC, is not true.

Bloomberg had claimed that hackers from APT29, which is also known as Cozy Bear and is affiliated with the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), had breached the RNC’s computer systems.

The Republican Party shared a statement on Twitter from RNC chief of staff Richard Walters, stating that the data was not accessed.

“Over the weekend, we were informed that Synnex, a third-party vendor, had been violated. We immediately blocked all Synnex account access to our cloud environment, ”Walters said in the statement. “Our team worked with Microsoft to conduct a review of our systems and, after a thorough investigation, the RNC data was not accessed. We will continue to work with Microsoft as well as federal law enforcement officials on this matter. “

The news agency had reported over the weekend that the RNC was on alert for a ransomware attack that hit software company Kaseya.

Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs reported at the time that there was no indication that the RNC was hacked, but that Microsoft had told the RNC that one of its vendor systems may have been exposed.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the RNC was hacked, but did not know what the hackers saw or stole, if at all.

Microsoft declined to answer questions about the allegations of a hack against the RNC.

“We cannot discuss the details of any particular case without the customer’s permission,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. “We continue to track malicious activity by nation-state actors, as we routinely do, and notify affected customers through our nation-state notification process.”

State-sponsored piracy targeting political entities is not new. Before the 2020 elections, Google said it uncovered attempts by an Iranian-backed group to attack former President Donald Trump’s campaign and a Chinese group targeting President Biden’s campaign.

In October 2020, the Wisconsin Republican Party said it was the victim of hackers who stole $ 2.3 million through rigged invoices.

Russian hackers have also previously targeted the Democratic National Committee since the summer of 2015, according to cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike.

The influence of political parties on public policy makes them an ideal spy target for hackers, according to John Hultquist, vice president of the Mandiant division at cybersecurity firm FireEye.

“Although these organizations have been involved in aggressive hacking and leaking campaigns, most of the time, Russian hackers and others attack them to collect information in a discreet way,” Hultquist said in a statement. “While the GRU actors caused quite a stir with the data they had taken from the DNC in 2016, they weren’t alone. APT29 had also infiltrated that network in a more typical cyber espionage operation “.

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