Russian hackers, Iranian entities target U.S. ahead of election
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/23/20, 07:37 am
A Russian state-sponsored hacking team targeted dozens of local and state government networks and stole data from at least two servers since September, U.S. officials said late Thursday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency in an advisory said the hackers, known as DragonFly or Energetic Bear, also targeted aviation systems. They obtained user and administrator credentials to access and exfiltrate data from the networks. Also on Thursday, the Treasury Department sanctioned five Iranian entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, for trying to influence U.S. elections. Treasury officials say the Iranian entities have planned to use social media to spread disinformation to U.S. voters and to sow discord in the United States.
How does this affect the election? Officials said there’s no evidence the Russian hackers disrupted any election, aviation, education, or government operations. “However, the actor may be seeking access to obtain future disruption options, to influence U.S. policies and actions, or to delegitimize [state and local] government entities,” the FBI and Homeland Security advisory warned. In the case of Iran, Treasury officials say the Bayan Rasaneh Gostar Institute has served as a front company for Iranian propaganda effort since at least 2015 and had prepared influence operations for the 2020 election.
Dig deeper: Read Harvest Prude’s report in The Stew on issues with the FBI investigation into potential Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. —Onize Ohikere
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