The Republican National Committee said a third-party Microsoft IT contractor was the victim of a cyberattack last week, but no GOP data was stolen.


Signs for the 2020 Republican National Convention outside the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 22, 2020. Logan Cyrus / AFP via Getty Images

  • Russian hackers hacked Synnex, a third-party IT contractor who works with Microsoft accounts, last week.

  • The attack took place around the same time that a major ransomware attack was carried out by a Russian-linked criminal group.

  • Bloomberg News reported that the hackers belonged to a group known as APT 29 or Cozy Bear.

  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Russian government hackers hacked Synnex, a third-party IT contractor that works with Microsoft last week, around the same time as a major ransomware attack was linked to a criminal group linked to Russia.

Bloomberg News reported that hackers breached the computer systems of the Republican National Committee, but an RNC spokesperson denied the allegation to Insider, saying the group’s team had worked with Microsoft to immediately confirm that no RNC data was had been consulted during the Synnex violation.

Two people familiar with the incident told the outlet that the hackers were part of a group known as APT 29 or Ours Cozy, which has been linked to Russia’s foreign intelligence service. Hackers have previously been accused of violating the Democratic National Convention in 2016 and infiltrate nine U.S. government agencies in a leaked December procurement president cyberattack, Bloomberg reported.

The breach occurs less than a month later President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on cyber attacks at a June 16 summit.

In one Facebook statement On Tuesday evening, the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, also denied that Russian hackers had penetrated computer systems belonging to the RNC.

“There is no evidence that the attack took place,” the statement said. “We would like to recall that during the summit of the presidents of Russia and the United States in Geneva, the theme of cybersecurity took center stage.

IT company Synnex said it was aware of “a few instances where outside players attempted to access client applications in Microsoft’s cloud environment through Synnex,” in a report. Press release.

“As a distributor, we only work directly with value-added resellers and supplier partners, such as Microsoft,” said Michael Urban, president of global technology solutions distribution at Synex in a statement to Insider. “SYNNEX does not work directly with end user entities of cloud application products.”

Urban added that the company was unable to provide details while it conducted a full review.

RNC Chief of Staff Richard Walters confirmed to Insider that no RNC data was viewed during the breach.

“Over the weekend, we learned that Synnex, a third-party vendor, had been violated. We immediately blocked all access of Synnex accounts to our cloud environment, ”said Walters. “Our team worked with Microsoft to perform a review of our systems and after a thorough investigation no RNC data was viewed. We will continue to work with Microsoft, as well as with federal law enforcement authorities. about this question.”

It was not clear whether the Synnex breach was in any way related to the ransomware attacks that took place around the same time, which targeted 200 US companies using vulnerabilities from Kaseya, a Miami-based IT company.

Cyber ​​security experts have linked the massive attack to a Russian-based ransomware-as-a-service criminal organization REvil, which more recently attacked the meat supplier JBS.

Correction 6/7/2021: This article has been corrected to reflect that the RNC says that Synnex was not specifically breached the RNC.

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