A cybersecurity firm has identified what it says is the group responsible for hacking the White House and the State Department last year. Dubbed CozyDuke by Russia-based security firm Kaspersky, its hackers target individuals with legitimate-looking emails that contain links to hacked websites, which can then infect the target's computer and give the hackers clandestine access to it. Kaspersky didn't explicitly say that the hacker group, which the compnay says also goes by the name CozyBear, is Russian. The group has been tied to other hackers, and "their espionage tools are all created and managed by Rissian-speakers," said Kurt Baumgartner, a senior Kaspersky researcher.
However, another cyber security expert recently told the Daily Beast that his company had been tracking a group with the same name, and that it was responsible for a "dramatic rise in cyber intrusion activity from the Russian government..." The Russians increased their hacking against U.S. companies and businesses in response to tough economic sanctions imposed on Moscow following the country's aggression in Ukraine, said Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder of U.S. security firm CrowdStrike. Kaspersky isn't exactly denying that Russia was to blame. In its analysis of CozyDuke/CozyBear, it links to recent news reports identifying Russia as the source of the State Department and White House hacks.