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Russian hackers breached Republican National Committee computer systems last week: reports

  • Russian hackers targeted and breached RNC computer systems last week, according to Bloomberg News.
  • The attack took place around the same time a major ransomware attack was executed by a Russian-linked criminal group.
  • A representative for the RNC told Insider tha no RNC data was accessed in the breach. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Russian government hackers breached computer systems for the Republican National Committee last week, around the same time a major ransomware attack was tied to a Russian-linked criminal group, according to Bloomberg News

Two people familiar with the incident told the outlet that the hackers are part of a group known as APT 29 or Cozy Bear, which has been linked to Russia’s foreign intelligence service. The hackers were previously accused of breaching the Democratic National Convention in 2016 and infiltrating nine US government agencies during a supply-chair cyberattack that was disclosed in December, Bloomberg reported.

The breach comes less than a month after President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin about cyberattacks at a June 16 summit.

A representative for the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

It was not immediately clear what, if any information the hackers observed or stole, according to Bloomberg.

RNC Chief of Staff Richard Walters told Insider no RNC data was accessed in the breach.

“Over the weekend, we were informed that Synnex, a third party provider, had been breached. We immediately blocked all access from Synnex accounts to our cloud environment,” Walters 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.” 

According to Bloomberg, the hackers are believed to have attacked the RNC through Synnex, a California-based IT provider.

The corporation said it was aware of a “few instances where outside actors have attempted to gain access, through Synnex, to customer applications within the Microsoft cloud environment,” in a press release.

Michael Urban, president of worldwide technology solutions distribution at Synnex told Bloomberg the company was unable to provide specifics while it conducts a full review.

It was unclear if the breach at the Republican National Committee was in any way tied to the

ransomware
attacks that took place around the same time, which targeted 200 American businesses using vulnerabilities in Kaseya, a Miami-based IT firm. 

Cybersecurity experts have tied the massive attack to Russian-based criminal ransomware-as-a-service organization, REvil, which most recently attacked meat supplier JBS. 

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