Security firm FireEye claims to have evidence of a Russian government-sponsored hacking assault on defence and military organisations.
The company's latest Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) report said that the attacks targeted organisations that would be of interest to Russia, and "may be" sponsored by the government.
The report, APT28: A Window into Russia's Cyber Espionage Operations, suggests that the targets and the methods look a lot like the work of officially sanctioned operations.
"Despite rumours of the Russian government's alleged involvement in high-profile government and military cyber attacks, there has been little hard evidence of any link to cyber espionage," said Dan McWhorter, FireEye vice president of threat intelligence.
"FireEye's latest APT report sheds light on cyber espionage operations that we assess to be most likely to be sponsored by the Russian government, long believed to be a leader among major nations in performing sophisticated network attacks."
The security firm has dubbed the hacker group APT28, and believes that it is not motivated by financial or intellectual property gain but on "collecting intelligence that would be most useful to a government".
The Chinese government is also accused of this kind of state-sanctioned surveillance, but FireEye said that its attacks usually have some sort of financial gain in mind. APT28, it said, has for the past seven years had a purely Russian government theme.
Targets, according to the report, have included Georgia and its ministries and military, Eastern Europe, Nato and journalists.
"APT28 has demonstrated interest in Eastern European governments and security organisations," added the firm.
"These victims would provide the Russian government with an ability to predict policymaker intentions and gauge its ability to influence public opinion."
FireEye's report comes amid tensions between leading nations over cyber crimes and spying, with the US and China constantly facing off over issues of data privacy and network intrusions.
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