US media claimed Monday, citing American cybersecurity "pundits", that "Russian hackers" attempted to infiltrate Burisma, a Ukraine-based fossil-fuel company. 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.
The NYT cites California-based cybersecurity company Area 1 that alleged a scheme of cyber intruders who mined data from the Ukrainian firm. The purported perpetrators are said to have created fake websites, emulating login pages of Burisma's subsidiary offices, according to Area 1. Hackers reportedly emailed these sham websites to Burisma staffers in a bid to obtain real login information.
According to Area 1, cited by the NYT, the hackers outwitted Burisma employees into handing over login credentials thus enabling access to one of the petrochemical company's servers. Area 1 claimed that the phishing attacks "were successful”, without providing details on the results of the hack.
According to the American cybersecurity specialists cited by the media outlet, the style of the Burisma attack is similar to that used during a 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Based on this vague assumption, Area 1 concluded that the supposed Russian hackers were behind the cyberattack on Burisma.
The New York Times in 2019 reported that the US Federal Election Commission had green-lighted Silicon Valley's Area 1 to handle cyber-assistance for the 2020 US presidential candidates in defending their campaigns from various malicious online attacks.
The alleged Russian hackers have repeatedly made headlines in Western media since 2016. Russia and its purported cyber-geeks have been blamed, without proof, for interfering in the US presidential election, meddling in Brexit, the Catalonia independence vote and numerous other political processes around the globe. Moscow has consistently denied the accusations.
In a bid to track every accusation against Russia and its purported attempts to "involve itself in the internal affairs" of numerous countries, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2019 issued a catalogue of supposed "misdemeanors".
Impeachment and Burisma
Burisma has fallen into the epicenter of the 2019 impeachment of US President Donald Trump, in part due to Hunter Biden, the son of former US Vice President Joe Biden - possibly a main political rival for the president in the upcoming election - who had served on the board of the Ukrainian company.
An anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, with the president vowing to withhold US military aid to Ukraine until Kiev complied with his demand - a claim that had triggered the impeachment, with dozens of witnesses against the US president. The charges that brought about Trump's impeachment in the US House have been consistently denied by the White House.
Neither Joe Biden or Hunter Biden were summoned to the US House to testify in Trump's impeachment.
Trump - the third US president in history to be impeached - has denied wrongdoing, repeatedly dismissing the impeachment as a witch hunt aimed at reversing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Trump's impeachment, approved by the House, is now stalled as it waits for the US House to hand over the impeachment articles to the GOP-controlled US Senate. US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who spearheaded the Trump impeachment, accused Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of trying to "stonewall a fair trial" by backing a resolution that would dismiss Trump's articles of impeachment.