The emails purportedly show Russia could have a plan to carve up pro-Russian parts of Ukraine
A pair of Ukranian hackers have leaked emails they claimed to have swiped from high-ranking Russian officials at the Kremlin.
A proportion of the emails were given to the BBC, which reported that several of the hacked emails are linked to Vladislav Surkov, one of the main figures in Russia’s intervention in the Ukraine and Crimea rebellion and a key creator of Russia’s current political system.
The BBC said the emails support the idea that Russia is in control of the separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine who have been fighting a war against Kiev to annex that part of the nation into a pro-Russian ‘republic’.
Kremlin email hack
The hackers, who style themselves as politically motivated ‘hacktivists’, did not shed light on how they managed to crack the Kremlin’s cyber defences in order to steal the emails from Surkov’s inbox.
However, the data breach is indicative of the potential for cyber attacks to leak more than just personal information and nude pictures.
While the Russian government has been consistent in trying to distance itself from the Ukraine separatist movement, the emails appear to show documents which are claimed contained budgets for supporting a breakaway pro-Russian republic in eastern Ukraine.
One email is claimed to have been sent by separatist leader Denis Pushilin back in January which contains a map of Ukraine that has been separated into three regions, with the Eastern part marked in what translated to ‘New Russia’ and the central part as ‘Lesser Russia’.
Other emails leaked further strengthen the claims that Russia’s bond with the separatist movement is tighter then it claims.
The BBC noted that analysts believe the emails to not be forgeries given the volume of mundane material also contained within the leak, furthermore they contain coding and details of the servers they were sent from that would be very difficult to fake.
While the ethics of such hacks are questionable, the email breach is an example of how cyber attacks are increasingly being found to have political and activist motivations and are not always a means by which to snare people with ransomware or cause major Internet service disruption.