Email Account of Top Aide to Russian President Hacked

October 28, 2016 Updated: October 30, 2016

A Ukrainian group claims it hacked the email account of one of Vladimir Putin’s top aides, releasing more than 1 gigabyte of emails.

The trove of emails from Vladislav Surkov show how Russia was likely involved in the separatist movement in Ukraine.

“This is a serious hack,” said Maks Czuperski, head of the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council (DFRL), reported NBC News.

“We have seen so much happen to the United States, other countries at the hands of Russia,” added Czuperski. “Not so much to Russia. It was only a question of time that some of the anonymous guys like Cyber Hunta would come to strike them back.”

Some of the emails were published by the DFRL, and they suggest there were direct political and financial ties between the Kremlin and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. Russia has consistently denied its involvement.

“Every message in the .PST database released by ‘Cyber Hunta’—2,337 in total—contains the same type of header information,” the DFRL wrote. it  added that “we can verify nearly every bit of information in Surkov’s inbox.”

According to NBC, a senior American intelligence official, who spoke anonymously, said the U.S. “had no role” in the hack.

The leak follows allegations by U.S. officials that Russia has been behind high profile hacks in America, specifically the hack of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Some analysts have implied that the hack against Surkov would be a retaliation.

Earlier in month, Vice President Joe Biden said the U.S. could be “sending a message” over the alleged hackings.

“He’ll know it,” Biden told NBC. “And it will be at the time of our choosing. And under the circumstances that have the greatest impact.”