A DUTCH INTELLIGENCE AGENCY allegedly spied on the Russian hackers linked to the hack on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) a year before the incident took place.
During the 2016 US presidential election, Russian hackers compromised the Democratic Party's IT infrastructure and were able to get hold of damning emails, and it's believed that they influenced the election results.
However, before this incident happened, officials from Dutch intelligence agency 'AIVD' had intercepted the hacking group and warned American officials about the threat, according to Reuters.
Cyber espionage specialists from AIVD are said to have identified the Russia-based hacking group known as APT29, or Cozy Bear, in 2014. The group is famed for launching attacks on the White House and State Department.
The agency was able to hack into the group's systems and pinpoint their location. At the time, the hackers were operating near a university in Moscow's Red Square in Moscow.
Not only were agency workers able to do this, but they also controlled the hacking group's security cameras. Security officials were able to see who came in and out of the building.
"Not only can the intelligence service now see what the Russians are doing, they can also see who's doing it," said a Dutch newspaper.
The agency tapped into the cameras to build a profile of the hackers and compared the faces to existing Russian cybercriminals.
AIVD agents monitored the group's headquarters between 2014 and 2017, and it allegedly passed information to the CIA and US National Security Agency warning them about potential attacks on American government organisations.
This information was likely used in the FBI's investigation into Russian interference during the presidential election, the report claims.
A US official, who has worked in cyber security at the State Department, said: "We'd never expected that the Russians would do this, attacking our vital infrastructure and undermining our democracy." µ
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