Russian hackers hacked at Burisma websites, probably to find incriminating evidence on Biden amid Trump’s impeachment – NYT

Russian hackers hacked into the websites of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, whose board of directors included the son of the former US Vice President Joe Biden, the potential rival of Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

This is reported by The New York Times.

Attempts to hack Burisma sites began in November 2019, when the scandal around the impeachment of Trump and news of his attempts to put pressure on Ukraine to investigate against Joe Biden’s son was gaining momentum in the United States.

It is still not known exactly what the Russians were looking for and whether they found what they wanted. However, experts believe that the timing and magnitude of the attacks indicate that hackers were looking for potentially incriminating materials related to Biden. Perhaps this is related to the information that Trump wanted from Ukraine when he insisted on an investigation against Burisma and Biden.

According to the publication, the current hacking tactics of Russians are very similar to those used during the hacking e-mail of Hillary Clinton and other Democrats before the 2016 presidential election.

Then, having received emails from the mailboxes of representatives of the Democratic Party, the Russians used trolls to distribute and promote the material, and built the situation of an “echo camera” to expand their influence.

Both then and now, hacking was carried out by Russian hackers from the military intelligence of the Russian Federation and private individuals who were known under the pseudonym Fancy Bear. They used phishing emails designed to steal usernames and passwords.

In this case, hackers created fake websites that mimic the pages for accessing the sites of Burisma subsidiaries and sent employees emails emulating messages from the company. In this way, they received user data, they say in the security company Area1, whose experts discovered these hacking attempts.

“The attacks were successful”, – notes Oren Falkowitz, founder of Area1, who previously worked for the National Security Agency.

At the moment, neither Burisma nor the Russian government have commented on information about hacker attacks.

Burisma is one of the largest private gas producers in Ukraine, the president and founder of which is Mykola Zlochevsky, former Minister of Ecology since the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych. Licenses for the development of gas fields to firms of Zlochevsky, in particular Burism, were agreed by the ministry, which he himself headed. In 2014, Zlochevsky left Ukraine, the company was suspected of tax evasion, money laundering and theft of state resources. In 2018, Burisma reported that lawsuits against the company were completed. The GPU really closed the case of tax evasion, the money laundering case was lost by Zlochevsky in the London court. And the case of embezzlement of state resources – actually issuing a license to oneself – was transferred to the NABU, which is continuing the investigation.

Despite the production, the company did not cease operations, in 2014 under Burism they created a board of directors, which included, in particular, Hunter Biden. He was on the board until 2019. Officially, in Burism cases, he did not appear.

Democrats in the United States accused Trump of exerting pressure on the Ukrainian authorities to get Kiev to investigate against Burism, namely against the Biden.