Russian hackers suspected behind cyberattacks on US media

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Hackers with ties to Russia are thought to be behind a series of recent cyberattacks on US media outlets, including “The New York Times.” Cyber vulnerabilities have become something of a crisis in the US government.

US officials told the television broadcaster CNN that investigators believe Russian intelligence operatives are likely to have been behind the hacks. The FBI and other US law enforcement agencies are examining the breaches.

It was not immediately clear how many reporters may have been affected, or how many email accounts were targeted. Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for “The New York Times,” would not confirm the FBI’s investigation.

“Like most news organizations we are vigilant about guarding against attempts to hack into our systems,” she said in a statement. “There are a variety of approaches we take up to and including working with outside investigators and law enforcement. We won’t comment on any specific attempts to gain unauthorized access to The Times.”

The spokesperson added that the newspaper’s internal systems had not been compromised.

The FBI is investigating whether those behind the cyberattack on the media are also behind other prominent hacks of US political groups.

“Investigators so far believe that Russian intelligence is likely behind the attacks and that Russian hackers are targeting news organizations as part of a broader series of hacks that also have focused on Democratic Party organizations, the officials said,” CNN reported.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign has accused Moscow of hacking into Democratic National Committee emails and has said the party’s congressional fundraising committee may also have been affected.

Hackers have also targeted the computer systems of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Republican Party organizations, sources have told the Reuters news agency.

Russian hackers are also believed to be attempting cyberattacks on Washington’s many think tanks.

The US’s top signal intelligence organization, the National Security Agency, is in the midst of a hacking scandal in which it appears some of its top secret code was leaked or stolen.

jbh/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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