World Bulletin / News Desk
Hackers linked to the Russian government have attacked reporters working for the New York Times and other news outlets, according to law enforcement sources cited in a CNN report Tuesday.
The FBI and other agencies working for the United States government are currently investigating several hacks directed at journalists, the anonymous sources say, although the bureau did not reveal exactly which reporters were targeted. The perpetrators are likely funded by Russian intelligence agencies, the report claims.
Government officials and cyber-security experts, including famed National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden, have theorized that Russia-backed hackers are responsible for infamous breaches this year at the Democratic National Commission and the NSA.
The officials who spoke to CNN claimed the Times brought in private cyber-security experts to deal with the breaches -- workers who are now collaborating with the FBI. The outlet would not comment on the specific attack or what information was stolen.
“Like most news organizations we are vigilant about guarding against attempts to hack into our systems,” Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in a statement. “There are a variety of approaches we take up to and including working with outside investigators and law enforcement.”
Other journalists claimed friends at the Times noted several “spear phishing” attempts in which a hacker sends an email to a specific person that appears to come from a trusted source but actually contains malicious software or links.
“Last month, rumors circulated that the NYT [New York Times] was seeing an uptick of spear phishing aimed at reporters covering Russia,” Sheera Frenkel, a reporter on cyber-security at BuzzFeed, posted in a tweet Tuesday.
Journalists are a high-priority target for hackers because of their contacts in government. Successful breaches might also yield sensitive intelligence revealed in off-the-record conversations or unpublished documents. In early 2013, the Times revealed that it had been hacked by attackers in China and, later that year, hackers supportive of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were able to briefly take down the newspaper’s website.