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Russian hackers reportedly targeted Republican National Committee

Russian government hackers allegedly took aim at the Republican National Committee last week, around the same time that a global ransomware attack was launched.

Bloomberg News and the New York Times reported Tuesday that hackers last week breached the systems of the RNC’s IT services provider, Synnex Corp. It was unclear if any data was stolen. Bloomberg also reported that the computer system of the RNC itself was breached, but the RNC denied that report.

In a statement Tuesday night, RNC Chief of Staff Richard Walters said the RNC was informed over the weekend that “Synnex, a third-party provider, had been breached. We immediately blocked all access from Synnex accounts to our cloud environment.” He added that the RNC was working with Microsoft Corp.
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to investigate the matter, and that “no RNC data was accessed.”

Fremont, Calif.-based Synnex
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confirmed 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 statement Tuesday, the company said it, “in partnership with Microsoft and a leading third-party cybersecurity firm, have been conducting a thorough review of the attack.”

The Times reported that the SVR, the Russian foreign intelligence agency that allegedly hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016 and was believed responsible for the 2020 SolarWinds hack, was suspected in the Synnex cyberattack. The Times said it was not yet known if the Synnex attack was related to the massive ransomware attack carried out by the Russian cybercriminal organization REvil over the weekend.

Sources told Bloomberg that Russian intelligence services are taking advantage of the chaos caused by the ransomware attacks to probe valuable targets.

Around 1,500 companies worldwide were hit in the ransomware attack, though President Joe Biden said Tuesday the impact on U.S. companies appeared to be minimal. The cyberattacks pose a major challenge for Biden, who has warned Russia that the U.S. will take action if the Russian government is found to behind the hacks.


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