RNC Systems Attacked by Russian Government Hackers

Divya  |  Jul 7, 2021

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.

Russian Government-backed Hackers Breach RNC Systems

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.

For its part, the RNC has denied any attacks on its system. Mike Reed, a spokesperson for the RNC said, “There is no indication the RNC was hacked or any RNC information was stolen.”

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. 

“Our team worked with Microsoft to conduct a review of our systems and after a thorough investigation, no RNC data was accessed. We will continue to work with Microsoft, as well as federal law enforcement officials, on this matter,” Walters added.

Latest Attack Provokes Biden Administration

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.

Related News