Area 1's report said it discovered the GRU had targeted two subsidiaries of Burisma, KUB Gas LLC and Esko Pivnich, as well as CUB Energy Inc, which was affiliated with the firm, using lookalike domains meant to trick employees into providing their email passwords.
The vast majority of cyberattacks begin with a phishing campaign, Area 1 says. It was not clear from the report what information if any was obtained. According to the New York Times, purported hacking attempts were alleged to have been registered in November 2019, at the time when major US-based media outlets were consistently reporting about the Bidens, Ukraine and the Trump impeachment. Russian Federation and its purported cyber-geeks have been blamed, without proof, for interfering in the USA presidential election, meddling in Brexit, the Catalonia independence vote and numerous other political processes around the globe.
An anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, with the president vowing to withhold U.S. military aid to Ukraine until Kiev complied with his demand - a claim that had triggered the impeachment, with dozens of witnesses against the U.S. president.
The purported perpetrators are said to have created fake websites, emulating login pages of Burisma's subsidiary offices, according to Area 1.
California-based Area 1 Security identified the hacking of Burisma and linked it to Russia's Main Directorate of Military Intelligence, or GRU.
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Burisma did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A second charge accused Trump of obstructing a congressional investigation into the matter. "We just point out that this is a campaign that's going on", said Falkowitz, a former National Security Agency offensive hacker whose company's clients include candidates for USA federal elected offices.
Area 1 says it also linked the GRU phishing campaign against Burisma to another phishing attack targeting a company founded by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky - whose conversation with Trump last summer sparked calls to impeach the USA president. His company offers email security to US politicians. The whistleblower complaint was unsealed in September. That email instructed Podesta to click a special link to pick out a new password for his Google email account - a process the hackers then monitored, giving them full access to his account. That can allow groups to get inside systems and impersonate employees.
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said the report "proves that both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin understand the true stakes of this election".
"Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, global anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can't beat the vice president", spokesman Andrew Bates said.
"The Russian attacks on Burisma appear to be running parallel to an effort by Russian spies in Ukraine to dig up information in the analog world that could embarrass the Bidens", the Times quotes a United States security official saying.