Russia's Fancy Bear Hackers, Accused of 2016 Election Meddling, Are Hitting Democrats Again: Report

Russian military intelligence-linked hackers who were accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have targeted Democrats in California and Indiana, as well as think tanks in Washington and New York City, it has been reported.

The group known as Fancy Bear targeted the email accounts of Democratic parties in the two states as well as the Center for American Progress, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Reuters reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The Russian embassy in Washington has denied the claims.

An indictment by the Justice Department filed in 2018 linked Fancy Bear to the hacking of email accounts of the staff of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Here’s the response from @RusEmbUSA to our story. TLDR “This is all fake news.”

“Russia does not conduct offensive operations in the cyber domain.” 👀 pic.twitter.com/T6siNXWYlV

— Raphael Satter (@razhael) October 30, 2020

The agency reported that many of the attempted intrusions had been internally flagged by Microsoft over the summer and as yet there was no evidence of any breach of any of the targets. Newsweek has contacted Microsoft for comment.

The Indiana Democratic Party said in a statement that it was "unaware of any successful intrusions," while chair of the California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks acknowledged it had been targeted but said that the "the effort by the foreign entity was unsuccessful." Reuters reported that all the think tanks targeted had not been breached either.

The Russian embassy in Washington DC described the report as "fake news," saying in a statement: "We reaffirm that our country respects all processes taking place in the United States of America," adding, "we do not interfere in their internal affairs."

"This is all fake news," it said, "Russia does not conduct offensive operations in the cyber domain."

Last month Microsoft revealed Fancy Bear had tried to hack over 200 organizations, many of which were linked to the election.

Microsoft was able to link this year's cyber espionage campaign to the Russian hackers through an apparent programming error that allowed the company to identify a pattern of attack unique to Fancy Bear, according to an assessment reviewed by Reuters.

Microsoft said that attackers also linked to China and Iran were attempting to spy on those linked to both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Hacking laptop
A computer hacker silhouette is shown with green binary code background in this illustrative image. Reuters reported that Russian-linked group Fancy Bear tried to hack the Democratic Party in two states. Getty Images