Russian government hackers breached the computer systems of the Republican National Committee last week, around the time a Russia-linked criminal group unleashed a massive ransomware attack, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The government hackers were part of a group known as APT 29 or Cozy Bear, according to the people. That group has been tied to Russia’s foreign intelligence service and has previously been accused of breaching the Democratic National Committee in 2016 and of carrying out a supply-chain cyberattack involving SolarWinds Corp., which infiltrated nine U.S. government agencies and was disclosed in December.
It’s not known what data the hackers viewed or stole, if anything. The RNC has repeatedly denied that it was hacked. “There is no indication the RNC was hacked or any RNC information was stolen,” spokesman Mike Reed said.
In a statement following the publication of this story, Chief of Staff Richard Walters said the RNC learned over the weekend that a third-party provider, Synnex Corp., had been breached.
“We immediately blocked all access from Synnex accounts to our cloud environment,” he said. “Our team worked with Microsoft to conduct a review of our systems and after a thorough investigation, no RNC data was accessed. We will continue to work with Microsoft, as well as federal law enforcement officials, on this matter.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied any Russian state involvement.
The attack on the RNC, coupled with the recent ransomware attack, is a major provocation to President Joe Biden, who warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about cyberattacks at a June 16 summit. The two countries have been holding “certain contacts” about cybersecurity as agreed at the meeting, Peskov said, declining to provide details or comment on whether the latest breach was discussed.
It’s not clear if the attack on the RNC is connected in any way to the ransomware attacks, which exploited multiple previously unknown vulnerabilities in software from Miami-based Kaseya Ltd.
Biden would mee with various agency leaders behind closed doors Wednesday to discuss ransomware and ways to combat it, the White…