The hackers who upended the US presidential election had ambitions well beyond Hillary Clinton’s campaign, targeting the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, US defense contractors and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin, according to a previously unpublished digital hit-list obtained by the Associated Press.
Russia has been suspected of being behind the hacks for quite some time and just this week, reports have surfaced that the US Department of Justice has pinpointed six Russian officials it believes to have been involved in the hacks.
This cyber hit list comes from data collected by cybersecurity firm Secureworks, which included 19,000 malicious links used by Fancy Bear to gain access to its targets’ email accounts. While these findings highlight a much more widely cast net than what was previously known, it also provides more evidence that Russian officials were behind the attacks.
Secureworks’ data reveals when phishing links were created and indicates whether they were clicked. But it doesn’t show whether people entered their passwords.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the notion that Russia interfered “unfounded.” But the list examined by AP provides powerful evidence that the Kremlin did just that.
In Ukraine, which is fighting a grinding war against Russia-backed separatists, Fancy Bear attempted to break into at least 545 accounts, including those of President Petro Poroshenko and his son Alexei, half a dozen current and former ministers such as Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and as many as two dozen current and former lawmakers.
In Russia, Fancy Bear focused on government opponents and dozens of journalists. Among the targets were oil tycoon-turned-Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent a decade in prison and now lives in exile, and Pussy Riot’s Maria Alekhina. Along with them were 100 more civil society figures, including anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny and his lieutenants.
Allegations that Fancy Bear works for Russia aren’t new.