Even men and women of the cloth aren't safe from 21st-century cyberspies.
The Associated Press has found that the same hackers charged with intervening in the 2016 U.S. presidential election also spent years trying to eavesdrop on Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, often described as the first among equals of the world's Eastern Orthodox Christian leaders.
Spying - Stakes - Kiev - Moscow - Wrestle
The spying illustrates the high stakes as Kiev and Moscow wrestle over the religious future of Ukraine, where many are trying to tear that country's church away from its association with Russia. It would be a religious split fueled by harsh on-the-ground realities: Fighting between Ukrainian military forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has claimed more than 10,000 lives since 2014.
Evidence of the espionage comes from a hit list of 4,700 email addresses supplied to the AP last year by Secureworks, a subsidiary of Dell Technologies.
AP - Data - Months - Group - Hackers
The AP has been mining the data for months, uncovering how a group of Russian hackers widely known as Fancy Bear tried to break into the emails of U.S. Democrats , defense contractors , intelligence workers , international journalists and even American military wives . In July, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, a U.S. grand jury identified 12 Russian intelligence agents as being behind the group's hack-and-leak assault against Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
The targeting of religious figures demonstrates the wide net cast by the cyberspies.
Patriarch - Bartholomew - Right - Tomos - Autocephaly
Patriarch Bartholomew claims the exclusive right to grant the "Tomos of Autocephaly," or full ecclesiastic independence, sought by the Ukrainians. It would be a momentous step, splitting the world's largest Eastern Orthodox denomination and severely eroding the power and prestige of the Moscow Patriarchate, which has positioned itself as a leading player within the global Orthodox community.
Ukraine is lobbying hard for a religious divorce from...
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