Russian hackers abuse VPNs to hijack accounts: US and UK officials

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Russian spies, accused of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, have spent much of the past two years exploiting virtual private networks (VPNs) to target hundreds of organizations around the world, US and British authorities on Thursday with.

The governments said in a joint advisory opinion that Unit 26165, the arm of the Russian military espionage agency whose officers were charged with alleged breaking into Democratic Party emails, had used VPNs and Tor – a privacy-focused network – to ” widespread, distributed, and anonymous brute force access attempts against hundreds of government and private sector targets. “

The consultation did not name any of the targets, just said that they were primarily in the United States and Europe and included government agencies, political parties, energy companies, law firms and media organizations.

The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately return a message asking for comment. Russian officials routinely deny allegations that they are using hackers to spy on rival nations.

Unit 26165 first came into the public eye in mid-2018 when a dozen members were indicted during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the elections that brought former President Donald Trump to power. During the year, other members of the unit were charged with allegedly hacking international anti-doping officials.

The unit has been doing the news regularly since then. Last year it was called by US officials for allegedly using malware to break into Linux systems.

Thursday’s joint consultation was released by the U.S. National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber arm, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Center.

Espionage agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom have been calling louder and louder to denounce foreign hacking attacks, especially if they allegedly originated in Russia or China.

© Thomson Reuters 2021




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