Pawn Storm Believed to be Preparing a Cyberattack Against the US Senate

A well-known security firm has evidence that the hacker group known as Pawn Storm is currently preparing a cyberattack against the US Senate. The group has been surprisingly active during the past several months and has recently even targeted International Olympic Committee officials.

A new report made public earlier this week indicates that a group of hackers known as Pawn Storm is likely planning to target US officials once again. I say again because the group has been linked to attacks on political organizations in the US before and there is strong evidence to suggest that they may be planning another attack. The report comes from cybersecurity firm Trend Micro who has been following the group’s activities for a number of years now and have become very familiar with their methods. The group goes by many names, including Pawn Storm, Fancy Bear, Sednit, and Strontium, to name just a few, and are believed to be pushing Russian interests.

According to Trend Micro’s latest report, Pawn Storm has continued to be very active in the second half of 2017 and has targeted political organizations in countries such as Iran, Germany, France, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United States. Currently, the group’s efforts seem to be focused on preparing a cyber attack on the US Senate as the report suggests that Pawn Storm has set up a number of phishing websites posing as the Senate’s internal email system. The cybersecurity firm seems confident that the group is responsible for setting up these websites in an attempt to trick users into giving up their credentials. Furthermore, the firm says that the US’s Senate internal email system isn’t available on the open internet so these websites are most certainly not legitimate.

Interestingly enough, the hacker group’s targets were not limited to political organizations over the second half of 2017. Pawn Storm has apparently also been targeting a number of Olympic Wintersport Federations during this time, including the International Ski Federation, the International Biathlon Union, and the European Ice Hockey Federation, among others. Coincidentally, news broke out late last year that a major doping scandal leads to dozens of Russian athletes and a few officials being banned from participating in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Trend Micro thinks this is not a coincidence and that Pawn Storm might be trying to prevent Olympic officials from further investigating the doping scandal. Furthermore, the hackers, or someone posing as the Fancy Bear group, announced earlier this week that they have begun leaking what appears to email pertaining to International Olympic Committee officials. The timing of these new leaks is likely not a coincidence as the Winter Olympics are scheduled to start in just a few weeks. Between the upcoming Olympic games and multiple global elections set to take place later this year, Pawn Storm are expected to continue their malicious activities and might even become more active than before in 2018.