Russian government hackers attacked Republican National Committee’s(RNC) computer systems last week. The hack coincided with a massive ransomware attack organized by a Russia-linked group, according to two sources familiar with the issue.
Although details of the attack remain scanty, reports suggest that the group involved is backed by Russia’s foreign intelligence wing. The APT 29 or Cozy Bear group, carried out a similar operation in 2016 against the Democratic National Committee(DNC) and was also blamed for a hack involving SolarWinds Corp., which led to the infiltration of nine government agencies in the United States.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff Richard Walters stated that the committee had learned about an attack on a third-party provider named Synnex Corp. Upon learning about the breach, RNC blocked Synnex accounts from accessing its cloud environment.
The RNC hack and the recent ransomware attack represent growing troubles for the Biden administration. While Biden himself has reached out to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the matter, diplomatic tensions persist on Russia-based cybercriminals.
As of now, it’s unclear whether the RNC hack was connected to the ransomware attack against Miami-based Kaseya Ltd.
According to sources who requested anonymity, the RNC systems breach was performed through California-based Synnex, which released a press statement following the incident. The company noted, “it is aware of a few instances where outside actors have attempted to gain access, through Synnex, to customer applications within the Microsoft cloud environment.”
President Joe Biden has warned the Russian leadership of the potential action that could be taken if Russia continues to wage a cyberwar against the US.