The infamous Russian hacker organization known as Grief claimed on Thursday to have hacked the US National Rifle Association (NRA), posting a series of files on its website Wednesday, NBC News reported.
The gang, known to commit ransomware attacks, threatened to publish additional files unless the gun rights group paid a certain sum of money, NBC added.
The files contain sensitive information, including grant proposal forms and the names of grant recipients, as well as a tax form.
The NRA, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun rights, is influential in American politics, contributing millions of dollars to Republican campaigns, including Donald Trump's presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020, CBS News noted.
The group's high profile has some wondering if the hack was politically motivated. Others, including Allan Liska, an intelligence analyst with cybersecurity company Recorded Future, doubt this.
"It's not likely that this was specifically targeted at the NRA — the NRA just happened to get hit," Liska told CBS. "You never know, though."
The NRA didn't respond to NBC's request for comment on the hack, but the organization had reportedly been experiencing technical issues with its email system, CBS cited an anonymous source as saying.
The NRA tweeted that it “does not discuss matters relating to its physical or electronic security," adding that it takes "extraordinary measures" to protect member and donor information.
“NRA does not discuss matters relating to its physical or electronic security. However, the NRA takes extraordinary measures to protect information regarding its members, donors, and operations – and is vigilant in doing so.”–Andrew Arulanandam, managing dir., NRA Public Affairs— NRA (@NRA) October 27, 2021
The news comes amid increasing concerns regarding ransomware cyberattacks, many of which have implicated cybercriminal groups of Russian origin. Some recent attacks on companies and organizations with ties to the United States government were conducted with the cooperation of the Russian government, according to CBS. A ransomware attack earlier this month targeted Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, Israel.