Report: Election hackers targeted journalists globally
The Russian hacking group “Fancy Bear” targeted more than 200 journalists around the world with phishing emails during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, The Associated Press reports.
One New York-based writer, Masha Gessen, said that agents loudly speaking Russian into phones began appearing at events that she scheduled into her Google calendar, suggesting that her account on the app had been hacked.
“It was really obvious,” she said. “It was a classic KGB intimidation tactic.”
A list obtained by cybersecurity firm SecureWorks confirmed Gessen’s status as a target, alongside hundreds of other journalists in America, Ukraine, Russia and other countries. Among the American journalists named were CNN contributor Michael Weiss and New Yorker reporter Adrian Chen.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the Fancy Bear phishing attempts were part of a wider scheme to intimidate journalists.
“It’s about gaining access to sources and intimidating those journalists,” said CPJ advocacy director Courtney Radsch. The group recognizes 38 journalists killed in Russia since 1992.
Russia has repeatedly denied efforts to intrude in the 2016 presidential election, despite the conclusion reached by several U.S. intelligence agencies last year that they did just that.
President Trump has also cast doubt on these conclusions, stating that Russia “probably” meddled in the election and noting that other nations were possibly involved as well.
“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people,” Trump said in January.
The president has also accused his predecessor of not doing enough to combat Russian hacking efforts during his time in the White House.
“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected [Hillary] Clinton would win and did not want to ‘rock the boat,’” he tweeted in June. “He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good.”
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