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Report: Russian hack indicates Moscow may again meddle in U.S. election

Report: Russian hack indicates Moscow may again meddle in U.S. election
The Russian Embassy in northwest Washington, D.C. The cybersecurity report said the timing of the hack may indicate Moscow is again planning to try and interfere in November's U.S. presidential election. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A cybersecurity firm says Russian spies successfully hacked the Ukrainian oil and gas company that's part of a scandal involving President Donald Trump that led to his impeachment, and it may be a signal Moscow will again interfere in this fall's U.S. elections.

The group, Area 1 Security, said in a report it found evidence Russian military intelligence targeted Burisma with a "phishing" attack last fall for access to employee passwords and email accounts. It also said Moscow's military intelligence agency, the GRU, was behind the attacks.

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The eight-page report said the discovery could indicate Russia is planning to interfere in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Burisma became part of Trump's impeachment investigation when the U.S. president pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was a Burisma board member between 2014 and 2019.

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Area 1 said in its report the timing of the Burisma hack in November suggests possible meddling by Moscow, as it was found by U.S. intelligence analysts to have done the same thing four years ago.

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"Our report is not noteworthy because we identify the GRU launching a phishing campaign, nor is the targeting of a Ukrainian company particularly novel. It is significant because Burisma Holdings is publicly entangled in U.S. foreign and domestic politics," the report said. "[This] raises the spectre that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 U.S. elections."

House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff has acknowledged the report.

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"They appear, if this reporting is correct, to be in the midst of another hacking and potentially another dumping operation designed to influence another election," he told NBC News.

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