This is the first time Moscow has been linked to cyber attacks for alleged economic gains.
The firm sats the victims of the previously unreported cyber espionage campaign include energy and technology firms, some of which have lost valuable intellectual property.
Detail about those losses or to name any victims were not disclosed, citing confidentiality agreements related to its investigation.
“These attacks appear to have been motivated by the Russian government’s interest in helping its industry maintain competitiveness in key areas of national importance,” -Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer of CrowdStrike.
While cybersecurity researchers have in the past said that China’s government was behind cyber espionage campaigns against various corporations dating back as far as 2005, Alperovitch said this is the first time the Russian government has been linked to cyber intrusions on companies.
CrowdStrike has been following the activities of this Russian group, which it dubbed “Energetic Bear,” for two years. The firm believes the Russian government is behind the campaign because of technical indicators, as well as analysis of the targets chosen and the data stolen.
Manufacturing and construction firms in the United States, Europe and Middle East as well as U.S. healthcare providers were also cited as targets.
Alperovitch, who is of Russian ethnic origin and now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, is an expert on cyber espionage.
In 2012, he co-founded CrowdStrike, which collects intelligence about the activities of hacking groups around the world and sells software to thwart such attacks.