Russian hackers are believed to have breached Qatar’s state news agency in order to plant a fabricated news story that may have influenced the diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, CNN reported on Tuesday.
US authorities said Russia’s goal may have been to sow discord between the US and its allies in the region.
Intelligence from US agencies signaled that Russian hackers were involved in the first cyberattack two weeks ago. Since then, a team of FBI investigators have been sent to Qatar’s capital city of Doha to assist the Qataris in the investigation, according to Qatari and US officials.
Although US officials pointed to Russia as the source of the hacking, it has yet to be determined whether the latest incident was traced back to criminal organizations in Russia or Russian military intelligence units, such as the GRU. However, as one unnamed official in CNN’s report said, based on previous intelligence on Russia’s cyber-hacking activities, “not much happens in that country without the blessing of the government,” the official said.