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Russian News Agency Suffers "Unprecedented" Hacker Attack

While Moscow may have won the US election by getting Trump in the Oval Office after spending $100,000 on Facebook ads, or so the popular narrative goes, meanwhile sending US-Russian diplomacy to levels not seen since the cold war, on Tuesday non-Russian black hats engaged in a less nuanced attack when they targeted Russian business newswire Interfax, the country's largest, crashing its website and making its subscription services unavailable on Tuesday afternoon, according to a tweeted statement.

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— ????????? (@interfax_news)

Engineers worked to restore access to services after the news service faced an “unprecedented virus attack,” Interfax director Yuri Pogorely said on his Facebook page.

According to Bloomberg, at least three Russian media outlets were attacked with a ransomware virus called Badrabbit, Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Group-IB reported, which declined to name all of the targets.

The virus affected “some of the servers, working stations and mail servers,” Ilya Sachkov, Group-IB founder, said about the attacks. “Operations totally halted in some of the affected companies and somewhere this led to a halt of the work of web resources.”

“It also counted state institutions and strategic objects in Ukraine as its victims,” Group-IB said of the attack on media outlets on its Telegram channel.

As Bloomberg adds, Russia, which has been blamed by the U.S. for hacking its election last year, has itself been targeted by cybercriminals recently.

Wireless carrier MegaFon PJSC and government entities suffered ransomware breaches in May, according to state television. In September, hackers used IP-telephony to issue fake bombs alerts, which lead to the evacuation of 400,000 people from malls, schools and other buildings.

The RNS news agency quoted Interfax as saying that it has not established the source of the attack.