Over 1,000 files of evidence gathered by Robert Mueller, special counsel, have been leaked online by Russian hackers using Twitter and a filesharing site as their platform. According to prosecutors, the leaked evidence was an attempt to discredit Mueller’s investigation into Moscow’s political interferences with the United States.
Promoting The Leak on Twitter
In October, a post appeared on the Twitter account of @HackingRedstone which read, “We’ve got access to the Special Counsel Mueller’s probe database as we hacked Russian server with info from the Russian troll case,” and “You can view all the files Mueller had about the IRA and Russian collusion. Enjoy the reading!” The post took users to a file sharing site where over 1,000 files of evidence had been uploaded. These files were identical to the files used by Mueller’s office, which were previously not made available to the public.
The Twitter account was eventually removed and the post was taken down, however, numerous users were able to view the evidence while it was live. Additionally, the files were also sent to a reporter via direct message on the same day.
Tracking The IP Address Back to Russia
The file-sharing site that was used to host the evidence managed to track down the IP address of the hackers and confirmed to the FBI that it was registered in Russia. However, during the FBI investigation, no evidence was found that proved the hackers had accessed the information on government servers. This pointed instead to a leak on the Russian side.
For Mueller’s prosecution of Concord Management and Consulting, a Russian based company, the leak was disclosed as part of a filing. It has been alleged that this company provided funding for Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) in support of numerous hacking activities. Consequently, the filing stated that the counsel of Concord Management and Consulting should never have been given access to the evidence that Mueller and his team had gathered for the case.
“The person who created the webpage used their knowledge of the non-sensitive discovery to make it appear as though the irrelevant files contained on the webpage were the sum total evidence of ‘IRA and Russian collusion’ gathered by law enforcement in this matter in an apparent effort to discredit the investigation.”, as stated in the filing.
Looking ahead, it is clear that Russian hackers remain a threat to the security of confidential information in the United States, as well as in other parts of the word. As occurrences like these continue to happen, we can only hope that those in charge continue to work on strengthening the security of the platforms used to store sensitive materials. As shown by the hackers’ direct use of these sites, officials need also pay attention to the security of our social media platforms, which can be used to spread leaked material at an alarming rate.