Here we go again.
Everyone is familiar with allegations of Russian interference of the U.S. Presidential Election last fall. Here in Canada, there were also allegations that foreign influences tried to alter our own parliamentary results. We generally think of hackings as a means to blackmail individuals or companies for money, but it is all too common for cybercriminals to target political organizations in an effort to embarrass them or harm them in the minds of the public. Sometimes, they do both.
As Bloomberg reports, Russian hackers have been targeting left-wing groups in the US for months, threatening to release emails and documents unless a ransom is paid.
“At least a dozen groups have faced extortion attempts since the U.S. presidential election, said the people, who provided broad outlines of the campaign. The ransom demands are accompanied by samples of sensitive data in the hackers’ possession.
In one case, a non-profit group and a prominent liberal donor discussed how to use grant money to cover some costs for anti-Trump protesters. The identities were not disclosed, and it’s unclear if the protesters were paid.
At least some groups have paid the ransoms even though there is little guarantee the documents won’t be made public anyway. Demands have ranged from about $30,000 to $150,000, payable in untraceable bitcoins, according to one of the people familiar with the probe.”
It’s impossible to say definitively whether the hacks are organized by criminal elements or the Russian government, but as Bloomberg points out, the two are not always mutually-exclusive.
The report continues: “Along with emails, the hackers are stealing documents from popular web-based applications like SharePoint, which lets people in different locations work on Microsoft Office files, one of the people said.”
The source of hacks like this is never a surprise. Hackers likely gained access to organization emails through a phishing scheme, just like what happened to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. Once they can log into an email account, they have access to all organizational documents through unsecure cloud storage programs like Microsoft’s SharePoint. All it takes is for one person to get fooled by spear phishing and the whole business becomes exposed. This is why conventional workgroup collaboration tools like SharePoint are insecure.
That’s why Evizone was created. Our military-grade encryption and secure communications and file storage tools ensure that even if systems are compromised, information held inside Evizone is secure. If you use our services, you can sleep well at night knowing that no one – not even infamous Russian hackers – can access your data.