Attacks/Breaches

1/26/2018
02:45 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Dutch Intel Agency Reportedly Helped US Attribute DNC Hack to Russia

The General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands broke into Cozy Bear's network in 2014 and spotted the group launching attacks, de Volkskrant says.

Information provided by the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD) helped US intelligence officials attribute to the Russians the controversial 2016 hacking attack on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant reported this week.

According to the paper, agents from AIVD managed to infiltrate the network of a university building in Moscow's Red Square in summer 2014 that Russian threat group APT29, aka Cozy Bear, was using. The intrusion provided Dutch intelligence agents with unprecedented visibility into the activities of the group, which since 2010 has been linked to numerous attacks on government organizations, and energy and telecommunication companies.

AIVD's access to the network was so complete that Dutch agents were able to use a CCTV in the building to watch every move of the 10 or so Cozy Bear actors who used the network. By comparing photos gathered from the snooping with photos of known Russian agents, AIVD was able to determine with a high level of confidence Cozy Bear was led by Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, the Dutch newspaper said.

It was that access that allowed Dutch agents to spot Cozy Bear launching an attack on the DNC network in summer 2015 and transferring emails and documents from the breached networks to its own servers. AIVD's information on the attack ultimately helped US intelligence agencies state with a high level of confidence that Moscow was involved in the attacks, de Volkskrant quoting several unnamed sources. The NSA and other intelligence agencies have publicly acknowledged receiving the help of a "western ally" in identifying the actor behind the DNC attack.

The DNC attack, and the subsequent leak of thousands of emails from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign, later prompted accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election and the Trump campaign's alleged involvement in it.

The 2015 attack on the DNC network is not the only tip that Dutch have given US intelligence agencies in the two years or so while they had access to Cozy Bear's network.

AIVD's access to Cozy Bear's network also allowed the agency to warn US officials of an attack on the US State Department network in late 2014. The APT group had managed to obtain email addresses and login credentials belonging to several State Department employees and had used that to access a non-classified portion of the State Department network.

Teams from the NSA and FBI used information provided by the Dutch to eventually prevent Cozy Bear from expanding its access to more critical areas of the State Department network. The attack, which one official later described as the "worst ever," forced the State Department to shut down access to its email systems for a weekend in order to restore security.

During the attack, Cozy Bear managed to send an email purportedly from the State Department to an individual in the White House. The email essentially tricked the employee into sharing his email credentials with a Cozy Bear threat actor who then used it to access a server containing emails sent and received by then President Obama, the Dutch newspaper said. Cozy Bear, however, did not manage gain access to any classified system in the White House breach.

Related Content:

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
New Mexico Man Sentenced on DDoS, Gun Charges
Dark Reading Staff 5/18/2018
Cracking 2FA: How It's Done and How to Stay Safe
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  5/17/2018
What Israel's Elite Defense Force Unit 8200 Can Teach Security about Diversity
Lital Asher-Dotan, Senior Director, Security Research and Content, Cybereason,  5/21/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Shhh!  They're watching... And you have a laptop?  
Current Issue
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
Most enterprises are using threat intel services, but many are still figuring out how to use the data they're collecting. In this Dark Reading survey we give you a look at what they're doing today - and where they hope to go.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-10000
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-24
In MuPDF 1.12.0 and earlier, multiple use of uninitialized value bugs in the PDF parser could allow an attacker to cause a denial of service (crash) or influence program flow via a crafted file.
CVE-2018-10001
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-24
OpenFlow version 1.0 onwards contains a Denial of Service and Improper authorization vulnerability in OpenFlow handshake: The DPID (DataPath IDentifier) in the features_reply message are inherently trusted by the controller. that can result in Denial of Service, Unauthorized Access, Network Instabil...
CVE-2018-10001
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-24
The Linux Kernel version 3.18 contains a dangerous feature vulnerability in modify_user_hw_breakpoint() that can result in crash and possibly memory corruption. This attack appear to be exploitable via local code execution and the ability to use ptrace. This vulnerability appears to have been fixed ...
CVE-2018-10003
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-24
curl version curl 7.54.1 to and including curl 7.59.0 contains a CWE-122: Heap-based Buffer Overflow vulnerability in denial of service and more that can result in curl might overflow a heap based memory buffer when closing down an FTP connection with very long server command replies.. This vulnerab...
CVE-2018-10003
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-24
curl version curl 7.20.0 to and including curl 7.59.0 contains a CWE-126: Buffer Over-read vulnerability in denial of service that can result in curl can be tricked into reading data beyond the end of a heap based buffer used to store downloaded RTSP content.. This vulnerability appears to have been...