Russian hackers extort US liberal organizations

Russian hackers are said to have hacked at least 12 different American liberal organizations since the election. It would be attacks in which embarrassing and sensitive information was stolen, after which silence money was requested.

Some groups are said to have already paid, although it is unclear whether they have also received a guarantee that the obtained documents containing the sensitive information will not be released. The amounts involved in these extortions are converted between 28,000 and 142,000 euros. The payments had to be made in bitcoins, so that the hackers are difficult to trace. This is reported by Bloomberg citing two sources familiar with the investigations into this subject by the FBI and some private security companies.

It is still unclear which hackers are behind the attacks and whether they actually come from Russia. The method used in the hacks would match Cozy Bear’s ‘trademark’. This is a Russian government-linked hacker group that is suspected, among other things, of hacking the highest governing body of the Democratic Party in the United States, the Democratic National Committee. According to the CIA, these hacks were aimed, among other things, at helping current President Trump to win the last presidential election.

According to the sources, The Center of American Progress, among others, has been victimized. This Washington think tank had strong ties to the administrations of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Arabella Advisors, a philanthropic organization that assists liberal investors, is also said to have been asked to pay hush money. It is unclear whether these organizations actually paid or whether the same group of hackers is behind it. A spokesperson for The Center of American Progress says he has no evidence that the organization was actually hacked and says the organization was not extorted. A spokesperson for Arabella Advisors admitted they had been the target of a hack, which allegedly was financially motivated.

In January, several US intelligence agencies released a report detailing how Russian hackers influenced the US election. The report, conducted by the CIA, FBI and NSA, speaks of a massive undermining of American democracy. The report talks about a hacker with the pseudonym Guccifer 2.0, who was used by the Russian military intelligence service GRU to break into the American Democratic Party.