Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company which is at the center of a scandal that resulted in President Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives, was successfully hacked in Russian military agents in November, a U.S. cybersecurity company claimed Monday.
According to an eight-page report published by Area 1 Security, a Silicon Valley company that specializes in e-mail security, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Army (GRU) in early November 2019 launched an ongoing phishing campaign aimed at stealing the login credentials for employees of Burisma Holdings and its subsidiaries and partners.
“Area 1 Security has also further connected this GRU phishing campaign to another phishing campaign targeting a media organization founded by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky,” the report adds. But it did not name the media organization.
Oren J. Falkowitz, chief executive officer of Area 1 Security, said that the discovery was made as part of his company’s “normal business of stopping phishing.” He said that the report was not paid for by an outside group.
“Cyber campaigns continue to be a geopolitical tool for waging war, influencing election, theft of intellectual property and financial assets, and espionage,” Falkowitz said in an email statement. “Yet time and again, we see that phishing campaigns like the GRU’s rely on human perception of authenticity, not on cutting-edge technology. Therefore, phishing campaigns are not insurmountable – and they can be stopped.”
The Associated Press reported that it was likely that the Bidens were also targeted by the Russian phishing campaign.
Falkowitz however said his company could not back those claims and said the targets of the campaign were Burisma employees.
Hunter Biden had resigned from Burisma Holdings when his father had officially announced his candidacy for president in April 2019.
The House of Representatives impeached President Trump in December for abusing the power of his office by enlisting the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden, a political rival, ahead of the election this year. A second charge accused Trump of obstructing a congressional investigation into the matter. The alleged phishing took place at a time when Democrat-led public impeachment hearings were widely covered in the news cycle.
Trump has insisted that he was not involved in any wrong doing.
Falkowitz said Area 1 Security “went through a rigorous effort to make disclosures that were appropriate.”