US recently claimed the group of Russian hackers accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election earlier this year targeted the email accounts of Democratic state parties in California and Indiana, and influential think tanks in Washington and New York, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The attempted intrusions, many of which were internally flagged by Microsoft Corp MSFT.O over the summer, were carried out by a group often nicknamed "Fancy Bear." The hackers' activity provides insight into how Russian intelligence is targeting the United States in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election.
The targets identified by Reuters, which include the Center for American Progress, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said they had not seen any evidence of successful hacking attempts.
Fancy Bear is controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency and was responsible for hacking the email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s staff in the run-up to the 2016 election, according to a Department of Justice indictment filed in 2018.
News of the Russian hacking activity follows last month's announcement here by Microsoft that Fancy Bear had attempted to hack more than 200 organizations, many of which the software company said were tied to the 2020 election. Microsoft was able to link this year's cyber espionage campaign to the Russian hackers through an apparent programming error that allowed the company to identify a pattern of attack unique to Fancy Bear, according to a Microsoft assessment reviewed by Reuters.
Microsoft declined to comment on Reuters’ findings.
The thrust of espionage operations could not be determined by Reuters. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in August here that Russian operations were attempting to undermine the campaign of presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Chris Meagher said it was “no surprise” that foreign actors were attempting to interfere with the election.
The Russian Embassy in Washington said it does not interfere in America’s internal affairs and denied any link to “Fancy Bear,” calling the allegation “fake news.”
The Trump campaign did not return messages.