According to US officials who are now well versed with the matter, hackers carried out a number of cyber breaches which were targeted towards US reporters from various news organizations, including the New York Times. The officials also say that they suspect the hackers to have been Russian intelligence backed.
The FBI and other US security agencies are looking into the intrusions which have taken place over the last few months. The officials said that investigators believed the hack to be part of a wider series of cyber breaches by the Russians. This includes the recent hacks to the Democratic Party networks.
The FBI declined to comment to requests for information about the matter. The New York Times said that all of its emails for its employees were outsourced to Google, and when Google was contacted, they refused to comment. Eileen Murphy, the Times spokeswoman, said that the company had not noticed any changes or seen any evidence of cyber breaches to the internal system of the Times server.
Murphy said that the company was constantly monitoring and checking their systems with the latest available intelligence tools. She also said that they had not noticed any breaches or compromises on their internal systems, even that of their Moscow bureau.
There has been an upsurge in the number of breaches against US organizations, and the cyber attacks against the US reporters are just part of them. US intelligence officials believe that the Russian spy agencies have been attacking various US organizations beyond the law enforcement agencies, including think tanks and non-governmental organizations, in a bid to gather as much information about the US political spectrum. Through attacks against organizations such as The New York Times, they are getting a window into the US political system.
News agencies are seen as a valuable target because they can yield information such as contacts in the government. It also reveals sensitive information that might not have been published as well as sensitive communication between reporters. The Times however, said that they were bringing in private security researchers to help with the cyber breach.
WikiLeaks recently released a trove of data which had been stolen from the DNC servers a few days before the beginning of the Democratic Convention. The emails saw the Democratic Party Chairman resign because of the content in the leak. US intelligence officials claimed that strong evidence showed the footprints of Russian hackers in the cyber breach, and the Clinton campaign said that the hack was part Russia’s attempt to put Donald Trump in office.