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Danish spies shared intel on Russian hackers

Dutch hackers hacked Russian hackers that were hacking the United States.
Rob Bertholee, head of the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands
Rob Bertholee, head of the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands. Credit: Getty Images

Danish spies hacked into the networks of Russian hackers and shared the information with the United States, and eventually providing proof that Russia is responsible for hacking into the Democratic Party in 2016.

The General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD) accessed the Russian hacking group known as Cozy Bear as early as the summer of 2014, according to Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant.  It was later revealed that the same group that was being hacked into by the Dutch is responsible for hacking into the DNC’s computer network and meddling with the 2016 presidential election.

According to de Volkskrant, AIVD penetrated Cozy Bear and gained access to everything ranging from computer networks to closed-circuit television cameras.  AIVD had access to security cameras that recorded who entered and exited the room as well other security cameras around the building located near Red Square, where the Cozy Bear operations took place.

Images of people going in and out of the room were later analyzed in Zoetermeer, Netherlands and it was determined the group of people working in the room were members of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). 

De Volkskrant reports that the Dutch access to Russian hackers Cozy Bear provided investigators with “crucial evidence” of the Russian involvement in hacking into the Democratic Party, according to American and Dutch sources who wished to remain anonymous.

AIVD also provided valuable information to the United States. In November 2014, AIVD alerted the National Security Agency (NSA)  that Cozy Bear obtained login credentials and emails from NSA FBI employees. The United States agencies were able to shut down the Russian attacks in 24 hours. The Washington Post reported the NSA was contacted by an “unnamed Western intelligence agency.” Dutch hackers from AIVD had access to the Russian hacker group for years, according to de Volkskrant. And it was the information that they were able to provide to the United States shed light on Cozy Bear.