Report: DNC hackers hit DC think tanks

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Hackers who struck the Democratic National Committee (DNC) appear to have attempted a similar attack against prominent Washington think tanks last week, Defense One reported.

Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike says the hackers targeted fewer than five organizations, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and 10 total staffers.

{mosads}“It’s like a badge of honor — any respectable think tank has been hacked. The Russians just don’t get the idea of independent institutions, so they are looking for secret instructions from Obama,” James Andrew Lewis, CSIS senior vice president and program director told Defense One.

When it investigated the breach at the DNC, CrowdStrike identified the attackers as two prolific Russian groups: one nicknamed Cozy Bear and another nicknamed Fancy Bear. Fancy Bear would later be credited with hacking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Cozy Bear has shown a pattern of using email-based tactics, which occurred in this case and in the group’s suspected attacks on Joint Chiefs of Staff, White House, and entities as far away as Europe and Brazil.

FireEye, the company which first uncovered Cozy Bear — or as it first named the group, APT 29 — described it as a tough adversary. 

“APT29 is among the most capable groups that we track. While other APT groups try to cover their tracks to thwart investigators, APT29 stands out. They show discipline and consistency in reducing or eliminating forensic evidence, as well as adaptability in monitoring and circumventing network defenders’ remediation efforts,” it wrote

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