National Security

RNC Denies Reports Of Russian Government-Linked Hacking

(Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The Republican National Committee (RNC) is denying a report that a Russian government-linked group hacked its servers last week.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the group APT 29, also known as Cozy Bear, hacked the RNC’s servers. In response, Republican Party communications director Danielle Alvarez tweeted that the story was “not true.”

“Over the weekend, we were informed that Synnex, a third party provider, had been breached,” RNC Chief of Staff Richard Walters told CBS News. “We immediately blocked all access from Synnex accounts to our cloud environment. Our team worked with Microsoft to conduct a review of our systems and after a thorough investigation, no RNC data was accessed. We will continue to work with Microsoft as well as federal law enforcement officials on this matter.” (RELATED: Top Congressional Vendor Targeted By Cyber Attack)

Alvarez claimed that Bloomberg did not attempt to reach the RNC for comment before publishing the story.

Cozy Bear has been previously accused of the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack and the 2020 SolarWinds hack. The Synnex hack is believed to have occurred at the same time that REvil, an Eastern European ransomware gang, locked the software company Kaseya out of its servers. REvil is asking for $70 million in Bitcoin to unlock Kaseya’s server, the largest ransom demand in history.

Cybersecurity has become a pressing issue for the Biden administration. REvil, which some intelligence officials believe is backed by the Russian government, also hacked JBS, the world’s largest meat-packing company, in early June.

DarkSide, another Eastern European hacker gang, shut down the Colonial Pipeline, which provides 45% of the gas used by East Coast states. Four governors declared states of emergency in the wake of temporary shortages caused by runs on gas.

“The private sector has a critical responsibility to protect against” ransomware attacks, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger wrote in a June memo shortly after the Colonial Pipeline hack. “All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location. But there are immediate steps you can take to protect yourself, as well as your customers and the broader economy.”