Over the past few months, Google’s Mandiant cybersecurity group has observed apparent coordination between pro-Russian hacking groups — ostensibly comprising patriotic citizen hackers — and cyber break-ins by Russia’s military intelligence agency, or GRU. In four instances, Mandiant says it observed hacking activity linked to the GRU in which malicious “wiper” software was installed on a victim’s network. The initial wiper software caused disruption by destroying computer systems across the organization. Then, the hacktivists entered the picture. After each of these hacks — within 24 hours of the wiping — the hacktivist organizations have published data stolen from the same organizations.
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