Local media outlets report that the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service were watching the Russian group, known as Cozy Bear, for at least a year and both hacked the group’s computers and caught hackers on camera. The Netherlands alerted the United States to Russia’s interference in the election after it watched the DNC hack and other operations from inside Cozy Bear’s system, according to the report.
This is incredible. Not only did the Dutch hack into Cozy Bear’s network, they also hacked the security cameras outside the building the Russian hackers worked in— allowing them to be identified and compared to known Russian spies. https://t.co/xwD48qeGEd?amp=1— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 25, 2018
The report also suggests that Dutch agents passed along information it gleaned to the NSA and CIA. As the Washington Post points out, the report suggests the Netherlands may have been an ally that alerted the United States about possible hacking.
According to Dutch media, AIVD agents also watched when Russian hackers launched an attack on the State Department in 2014 and compromised unclassified systems at the White House as well as in Congress.
Officials later told The Post that the NSA had been alerted to the hacks by an unnamed Western intelligence agency. The Western ally had previously hacked not only the Russians’ computers but also surveillance cameras inside their offices. The unnamed Western analysts were monitoring the hackers’ maneuvers inside U.S. networks and even collected CCTV footage of those involved.
Thursday’s reports indicated for the first time that the ally that alerted the United States may have been the Netherlands. The country’s analysts were reportedly also able to track the location of the hackers’ offices down to a university building next Moscow’s Red Square.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, denounced the report.
“If the Dutch media want to fuel anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S., it’s an activity that can’t be called honorable,” he reportedly said.