PREPARE TO BE THOROUGHLY UNSURPRISED. Cybersecurity firm FireEye has found evidence that two state-sponsored Russian hacking groups are gearing up to disrupt the upcoming European parliamentary elections.
At this point, it would be more of an eye-catching headline if it were "Russian hackers aren't targeting the European elections," but hey, we just go with the stories available.
The two groups are APT28 - also known as Fancy Bear - and Sandworm, and FireEye has found evidence of them sending out authentic-looking phishing emails to officials from various member states in a bid to get their grubby mitts on government information.
The two campaigns are supposed to be different, but coordinated, and they're still being attempted as you read this.
"The groups could be trying to gain access to the targeted networks in order to gather information that will allow Russia to make more informed political decisions, or it could be gearing up to leak data that would be damaging for a particular political party or candidate ahead of the European elections," said Benjamin Read, FireEye's senior manager of cyberespionage analysis and official holder of '‘excellent job title.'
At the last European elections in 2014, around 164 million EU citizens cast their votes, and while that's likely to be a bit lower this time as the UK is not (currently) scheduled to throw in its apathetic 30 per cent turnout, it's still a big deal.
For those not paying attention, politics is a little tumultuous at the moment, and the potential to disrupt a whole continent further is extremely tempting to hostile nation states. A good old fashioned hacking attempt is a gloriously low-hanging fruit now Facebook has woken up to the disinformation threat. µ
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