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Eye looking at digits, symbolizing a cyber attack
Image: Fotolia/Kobes

Russia's cyber espionage

January 22, 2014

A US security firm has claimed the Russian government was behind the hacking of hundreds of companies in America, Asian and Europe. Its report indicated Moscow stole technology data to enhance economic competitiveness.


US cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said Wednesday it had gathered evidence that the Russian government spied on hundreds of companies in America, Europe and Asia. It was the first time that Moscow was linked to large-scale cyber attacks for economic rather than political gains.

CrowdStrike claimed Russia's espionage campaign was directed primarily at energy and technology firms, some of which had lost valuable intellectual property. It said among the victims were European energy companies and defense contractors as well as manufacturing and construction firms on several continents.

It declined to name the firms attacked, citing confidentiality agreements related to its investigations.

Keeping abreast

"These attacks appear to have been motivated by the Russian government's interest in helping its industry maintain competitiveness in key areas of national importance," CrowdStrike Chief Technology Officer Dmitri Alperovitch told Reuters news agency.

The US cybersecurity firm published its findings Wednesday in its "Global Threat Report 2013" which also dealt with ongoing attacks on companies by China.

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CrowdStrike explained it had been following the activities of Russian hackers for two years, adding it believed the government was behind the campaign because of technical indicators and the type of targets chosen.

"They are copying the Chinese playbook," Alperovitch remarked. "Cyber espionage is very lucrative for economic benefit to a nation."

hg/mz (Reuters, CrowdStrike)

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