On Thursday, The Associated Press reported that Russian hackers targeted prominent U.S. politicians and defense contractors, Russian opposition leaders, and Ukrainian officials in addition to the Democratic National Committee. AP obtained what it called a "digital hit list" containing thousands of Kremlin targets from the cybersecurity firm Secureworks, which traced the data after a hacking group known as Fancy Bear tried to "phish" email accounts using a public profile on an email link management platform.
Of the 4,700 individual email addresses targeted by Fancy Bear, AP was able to connect roughly half to account holders. Among the notable targets were then-Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, defense contractors for Boeing and Raytheon, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and the Russian punk band, Pussy Riot. Fancy Bear has long been accused of working on behalf of the Kremlin, and Secureworks' findings also show direct connections between these phishing efforts and the hacking of the DNC's emails during the 2016 presidential election.
Keir Giles, the director of the Conflict Studies Research Center in Cambridge, reviewed AP's findings and called the data "a master list of individuals whom Russia would like to spy on, embarrass, discredit, or silence." "It's a wish list of who you'd want to target to further Russian interests," Giles said.
The massive scope of the Secureworks' findings indicates that even if the Russian hackers succeeded in breaching but a small portion of their targeted accounts, the data drawn from could be multiple terabytes' worth — which would make Fancy Bear's effort one of the largest data leaks in history. Read more about the operation at The Associated Press. Kelly O'Meara Morales
Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, has used a private email address he set up after the election to communicate about White House matters with other administration officials, Politico reported Sunday and Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, confirmed. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, set up the private family domain and new email addresses in December.
Kushner mostly "uses his White House email address to conduct White House business," Lowell said in a statement. "Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account," mostly "forwarded news articles or political commentary." To comply with the Presidential Records Act, Kushner forwarded all non-personal emails to his White House account, Lowell said, and "all have been preserved in any event." The lawyer did not say who determined which emails were personal and which were business-related.
Other White House officials have also conducted business over personal email, including former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Stephen Bannon, Politico reports. During the 2016 campaign, Trump relentlessly hammered opponent Hillary Clinton for her use of private email while secretary of state, a practice that led to a lengthy FBI investigation. Trump still talks of having the Justice Department prosecute Clinton. There is no indication that Kushner sent classified information over his private email account, and a government official tells The New York Times that unlike Clinton, the Kushners did not set up a private server. Still, Politico says, "Kushner's representatives declined to detail the server or security measures on it." You can read more at Politico. Peter Weber