WASHINGTON – Hackers, allegedly linked to the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, attacked the Ukrainian company for which one of the sons of former United States Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden worked, according to a report by a cybersecurity company published on Monday.
The target of the hack is Burisma, one of the largest natural gas producers in Ukraine and for which Biden’s son Hunter worked between 2014-2019.
“The campaign against the Ukrainian oil & gas company was launched by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Army or GRU,” according to an eight-page report by Area 1 Security, a Silicon Valley-based cybersecurity company.
According to Area 1, the phishing attacks targeting Burisma began in November, shortly after the Democratic opposition launched a formal impeachment inquiry against US President Donald Trump.
The aim of the Russian hackers allegedly was to obtain information intended to harm the Biden family, according to The New York Times – the first to report on what happened – citing cybersecurity experts.
The hackers allegedly tried to steal information from Burisma using different techniques. For example, they created fake websites that resembled the login pages of Burisma’s subsidiaries.
They also sent emails to Burisma’s employees that resembled the company’s internal communications, according to the report.
Several US media outlets, including The New York Times, believe that there is a parallel with the computer attack against the team of Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent, and the Democratic National Committee, the governing body of that political party, during the 2016 presidential campaign.
In that case, US intelligence agencies concluded in a 2017 report that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered an influence campaign aimed at the US election through cyberattacks because he had a “clear” preference for Trump.
Both Moscow and Trump have rejected these claims.
The alleged new attack on Burisma occurred in the context of the impeachment of Trump, who Democrats accuse of having pressured his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to open an investigation for corruption against the Biden family in an attempt to hurt him in the face of this year’s election.
Trump, who is running for re-election, is awaiting the start of the impeachment trial in the Senate