Cyber attack on New York Times Moscow office

The New York Times said its Moscow bureau was targeted by a cyber attack this month but there was no evidence that the hackers, believed to be Russian, were successful.

“We are constantly monitoring our systems with the latest available intelligence and tools,” said Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy.

“We have seen no evidence that any of our internal systems, including our systems in the Moscow bureau, have been breached or compromised.”

Earlier, US news broadcaster CNN, citing unnamed US officials, reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other US security agencies were investigating cyber breaches targeting reporters at the Times and other US news organisations that were thought to have been carried out by hackers working for Russian intelligence.

“Investigators so far believe that Russian intelligence is likely behind the attacks and that Russian hackers are targeting news organisations as part of a broader series of hacks that also have focussed on Democratic Party organisations, the officials said,” CNN reported.

The FBI declined a request for comment. Representatives for the US Secret Service, which has a role in protecting the country from cyber crime, did not reply to a request for comment.

A US government official briefed on the inquiry told the Times that the FBI was looking into the attempted cyber attack but was not carrying out similar investigations at other news organisations.

The Times had not hired outside firms to investigate the attempted intrusion, contrary to the CNN report, said Ms Murphy.

Reports of the cyber attack comes amid a wave of similar attacks targeting major US political parties have surfaced in recent weeks ahead of the November 8 presidential election.

The Democratic National Committee, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and the party’s congressional fundraising committee have all been affected.

Hackers have also targeted the computer systems of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Republican Party organisations, sources have claimed.

Earlier this month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi advised fellow Democrats not to allow family members to answer their phones or read incoming texts after a mix of personal and official information of Democratic members and hundreds of congressional staff — purportedly from a hack of the DCCC — was posted online.

A breach at the Times would not be the first time foreign hackers infiltrated a news organisation. Media are frequently targeted to glean insights into US policies or to spy on journalists.

In 2013, a group of hackers known as the Syrian Electronic Army attacked the Times and other media outlets. Chinese attackers also infiltrated the Times that year.


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