According to the New York Times, researchers have concluded that the Democratic National Committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies.
These are the same attackers behind previous Russian cyberoperations at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year. Additionally, metadata from the emails points to the documents passing through Russian computers before being posted. The agencies are the prime suspects in the breech, even though a hacker has claimed responsibility for the e-mails.
The DNC had been hacked prior to the release of the 20,000 e-mails by the same two agencies . The cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, hired by the DNC to track down the hackers, recently posted the code used in the hacks on its blog last month. The organizations have been given the code names “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear” by U.S. intelligence. “Cozy Bear” infiltrated the DNC servers last year, while “Fancy Bear” struck earlier this year.
Furthermore, according to private cybersecurity firms and federal investigators, “Fancy Bear” appears to be operated by the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service.
“Cozy Bear” is particularly well known by the FBI’s counter-intelligence unit, the CIA, and other intelligence agencies as the likely culprit of years of intrusions of the US State Department and White House unclassified computer system.
Investigators found that Russian intelligence agencies went to great lengths to hide their tracks, including deleting logs and changing the timestamps on the stolen articles.
Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, suggested on Sunday during ABC’s This Week that the e-mails were leaked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump,” suggesting his position on NATO could be favorable to Russia if Trump refused to help allies in the Baltic States. He cited “experts” had told him this, but gave no further evidence.
Trump has said in the past that he would like to “get along with Russia” if he were to be elected President, going so far as saying that Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama. Even so, Trump’s campaign manager vehemently denied having any ties to Russian hackers or an overarching plan to team up with Putin when asked about it on “This Week.”
The exact motives of the two companies remain unknown, and may be so for many months. It cannot yet be determined if Putin or other Russian authorities commanded the attacks.