How Russian government hacked the FBI to protect its spies

Hacking and cyber espionage activities between national states keep increasing. According to reports from digital forensics specialists, the Russian government had hacked FBI communications systems to prevent US agents from detecting Russian spies working in American territory and agencies.

The picture shows the emblem of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US Justice Department at the US American embassy in Berlin, Germany

The report states that, in addition to the ability to disrupt their communication systems, the FBI believes that Russian spies are able to locate their undercover surveillance equipment and intercept the contents of their confidential communications. Reports of Russian hackers’ activities in US territory began nearly 10 years ago.

Thanks to their capabilities, Russian spies would not only have managed to bypass the US authorities’ detection, but were also able to perform some counter-espionage work, gathering information about their pursuers and on the administration of the former President Barak Obama, which raised suspicions about a potential Russian spy infiltrating the US intelligence services, say digital forensics experts.

The first Russian intrusion into FBI systems dates back to 2010, after the arrest of a group of spies sent from the Kremlin to the US. Later, the federal agency began investigating Russia’s activities to infiltrate its agents in America, trying to gain access via some prominent figures in US politics, such as businessman Carter Page, further linked to the Trump’s campaign. Later, the Obama administration’s response was the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats and the shutdown of two diplomatic centers in the US, further relying on the investigation into the alleged Russian intervention in the presidential election 2016.

Digital forensics experts say both countries have increased their efforts to develop espionage and hacking activities in recent years. A couple of months ago, a report published in The New York Times claimed that Russia electrical systems had been hacked by the US government, injecting a dangerous malware capable of crippled all its operations. This report picked up the testimonies of two alleged officials close to this project, who claim not to rely on President Trump’s ability to handle this situation. Apparently, the fears of these officials come from a meeting at the White House in which President Trump met with senior Russian government officials to reveal classified information about US intelligence activities in Russian territory.

On the other hand, digital forensics specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) reported a major hack against the Federal Security Service, one of the intelligence agencies of the Russian government. The reports ensure that US agents were able to extract nearly 8 terabytes of classified information.

U.S. counter-espionage efforts have led to key actions, such as identifying a Russian agent infiltrating the CIA on which other media have revealed some other details.