Lost amid the furor over whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election is an unsettling reality: the perpetrators of the 2016 hacking campaign are still at large. And according to a major cybersecurity firm, they’re not done yet.
Their next target? The United States Senate.
Earlier today, cybersecurity firm Trend Micro Inc. published a report on the recent activities of the hacking group known as “Fancy Bear,” and their findings are alarming. Not only is the group still thriving, but according to Feike Hacquebord, a security researcher at Trend Micro, it is “still very active – in making preparations at least – to influence public opinion again…They are looking for information they might leak later.”
(Also, quick side note: I know the name “Fancy Bear” sounds cute and probably makes you think of a big ol’ Kodiak with a top hat and a monocle, but the logo is actually kinda terrifying.)
Hacquebord bases his claims on his discovery of a series of suspicious-looking websites that were designed to look like the U.S. Senate’s internal email system, a technique which exactly matches the one used last May to pilfer private emails from French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign.
Though Trend Micro does not go so far as to claim that the hacking campaigns are executed at the direction of the Russian government, the U.S. intelligence community has repeatedly asserted that these hacks are almost certainly ordered by Russia’s military intelligence services.
It is unclear which U.S. Senators were the potential targets of the hack, but regardless of party affiliation, the hacks would almost certainly send an already-unstable political climate into further confusion and disarray. Which, conveniently enough, is precisely what the Russian government wants.