Russian government confirms hacking of state services accounts during ruling party primaries

Russia’s Digital Development Ministry has confirmed that a number of user accounts on the government services portal “Gosuslugi” were hacked during the United Russia party’s primaries, which were carried out online from May 24–30.

On June 4, spokespeople told the business newspaper Kommersant that the ministry recorded “attempts to commit fraudulent actions” using a number of Gosuslugi accounts. According to the Digital Development Ministry, this came after some poorly protected accounts that used “simple passwords or passwords that matched other resources” were hacked. 

“The ministry recommends using complex, unique passwords for each service and two-factor identification on government services, updating operating systems, and using anti-virus software,” spokespeople for the Digital Development Ministry noted.

On June 3, reports emerged about cases of hackers gaining unauthorized access to Gosuslugi accounts and making changes on the behalf of United Russia’s Personal Data Processing Center. Ekho Moskvy radio host Arina Borodina reported that the ruling party’s data processing center had apparently gained access to her Gosuslugi account and changed her registered address from Moscow to Chelyabinsk. Readers reported similar hacks to Meduza.

Sergey Perminov, the deputy secretary of United Russia’s General Council, told Kommersant that the ruling party is “extremely interested” in investigating the illegitimate use of Gosuslugi accounts. “We believe that law enforcement agencies should conduct a full-fledged check on this fact, and those who did this should incur liability as established by law. A corresponding statement will be submitted to the police in this regard,” he said.

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