Russian spies hacked Ukrainian gas firm mentioned in Trump impeachment

NYT: Russian hackers successfully targeted Ukrainian gas company Burisma

NYT: Russian hackers successfully targeted Ukrainian gas company Burisma

"The Russian attacks on Burisma appear to be running parallel to an effort by Russian spies in Ukraine to dig up information in the analog world that could embarrass the Bidens", the Times quotes a U.S. security official saying.

Hackers from Russia's military intelligence unit, the GRU, have allegedly targeted a Ukrainian energy firm tied to the impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump.

Area 1 linked the hack - a "phishing" attack - to Russia's military intelligence unit known commonly as the GRU.

"Area 1 Security has also further connected this GRU phishing campaign to another phishing campaign targeting a media organization founded" by Zelensky, the report said.

An anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, with the president vowing to withhold USA military aid to Ukraine until Kiev complied with his demand - a claim that had triggered the impeachment, with dozens of witnesses against the U.S. president.

The New York Times in 2019 reported that the US Federal Election Commission had green-lighted Silicon Valley's Area 1 to handle cyber-assistance for the 2020 US presidential candidates in defending their campaigns from various malicious online attacks.

They then sent emails to employees of the companies with links to their fake pages, created as replicas of internal websites so they could collect their logins and use them to access its servers. Security researcher Kyle Ehmke noted some of the suspicious domains in December.

A source close to Burisma told Reuters news agency that the company's website had been subject to a number of break-in attempts over the past six months.

Trump has been impeached in part because of allegations that in a July phone call, Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden and his son and appeared to raise unfounded allegations that the former vice president stopped prosecution of the company.

Specifically, Mr Trump wanted Kyiv to look into a debunked theory that Joe Biden had previously tried to quash a probe of Burisma in order to protect his son.

The report was released with Trump expected to stand trial in the Senate as early as this week on two articles of impeachment - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The firm also drew parallels between November's hack and another that was carried out in 2016, before the U.S. presidential election.

In the report, Area 1's co-founders Oren J Falkowitz and Blake Darche said: "The timing of the GRU's campaign in relation to the 2020 USA elections raises the specter that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 United States elections".

Then, hackers gained access to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and to the campaign of President Trump's then-electoral rival, Hillary Clinton. The charges that brought about Trump's impeachment in the US House have been consistently denied by the White House.

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