Russian military hackers have successfully infiltrated the Ukrainian gas company at the heart of the impeachment drama surrounding President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden and his family, according to cybersecurity researchers.
"We just point out that this is a campaign that's going on", said Falkowitz, a former National Security Agency offensive hacker whose company's clients include candidates for USA federal elected offices. Breaching Burisma could yield communications from, to, or about Hunter Biden, who served as a director between 2014 and 2019.
Trump denies he did anything wrong by asking Ukrainian officials to investigate Hunter Biden's relationship with Burisma.
But Area 1 said at least some of the attempts to fool Burisma employees into giving their login credentials succeeded and the hackers were able to access one of Burisma's servers.
He repeated this tactic again a year ago after being caught soliciting an investigation into the Bidens from then-newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for the release of defense funding that'd already been approved by Congress.
"The timing of the GRU's campaign in relation to the 2020 United States elections raises the specter that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 USA elections", Area 1 co-founders Oren J. Falkowitz and Blake Darche said in the eight-page document.
In 2016, hackers released emails from the Democratic National Committee they accessed after using a targeted attack against Hillary Clinton's campaign manager.
"It would not at all surprise me". According to the New York Times, purported hacking attempts were alleged to have been registered in November 2019, at the time when major US-based media outlets were consistently reporting about the Bidens, Ukraine and the Trump impeachment.
Burisma did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"The timing of the GRU's campaign in relation to the 2020 USA elections raises the spectre that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 USA elections", the Area 1 Security report said. A second charge accused Trump of obstructing a congressional investigation into the matter.
Area 1 said its researchers connected the phishing campaign targeting Burisma to an effort earlier previous year that targeted Kvartal 95, a media organization founded by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
His company offers email security to US politicians. The whistleblower complaint was unsealed in September. There, unwitting victims enter their usernames and passwords, which the hackers then harvest.
Joe Biden id among those running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
In a statement, Biden's presidential campaign said the incident "proves that both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin understand the true stakes of this election".
"Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, worldwide anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can't beat the Vice President", Bates said.
Neither Joe Biden or Hunter Biden were summoned to the US House to testify in Trump's impeachment.