Russia hacked Ukrainian company where Hunter Biden worked, raising concerns about possible 2020 election interference

Russia hacked Ukrainian company where Hunter Biden worked, raising concerns about possible 2020 election interference

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Area 1 Security, a cybersecurity company headquartered in California, has released a report saying Russian agents launched a phishing campaign against Burisma Holdings, the Ukranian gas company that played a significant role in President Trump's impeachment and where Hunter Biden served on the board.

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Burisma and Trump: President Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to announced an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma in a July 25 call. The conversation prompted a CIA official, believed to be Eric Ciaramella, to raise concerns about a quid-pro-quo, which eventually led to the impeachment of the president in the House.

The report: Area 1 Security says that employees at Burisma Holdings were tricked into giving their computer credentials to fake domains designed like the sites of real Burisma subsidiaries, set up by Russian military intelligence, the GRU. The hacker's aim was to "gain control of [Burisma's] internal systems," according to the report, but it is unclear what kind of information they obtained or how they plan on using it.

"Our report is not noteworthy because we identify the GRU launching a phishing campaign, nor is the targeting of a Ukranian company particularly novel. It is significant because Burisma Holdings is publically entangled in U.S. foreign and domestic politics," the authors of the report note.

Read it here.

Worth noting: The attempt to breach the company's network started in early November when the House was conducting an impeachment inquiry into the president and news about former vice president Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and the Ukrainian firm, still dominated media headlines.

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2020 vs. 2016: The report says that the phishing campaign insinuates "an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 U.S. elections," suggesting that this might be a Russian effort to undermine Biden's presidential campaign.

Area 1's CEO, Oren Falkowitz also told the Associated Press of “several patterns that lots of independent researchers agree mimic this particular Russian actor.” He also compared it to the hacking of John Podesta's emails, while he was serving as the chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

On Sunday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien told "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos that the administration has "been very clear on our position with respect to the Russians and that's to stay out of our elections." House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA), however, said: "The president of the United States is in complete denial about Russia's role. As I have said in terms of this president, all roads lead to Putin ... He said he's not going to accept the assessment of our own intelligence agencies."

Biden's response: "This proves that both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin understand the true stakes of this election. Joe Biden is running to bring our country together and restore American leadership in the world -- repairing the damage Donald Trump has done to our national security and alliances. Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, international anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can't beat the Vice President," said Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates.

"Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat. Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections."

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