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The filthy, no-good ISIS hackers that made death threats against military spouses a few years ago may actually have been filthy, no-good Russian hackers posing as jihadists, the Associated Press first reported on Tuesday.

  • On Feb. 10, 2015, five military spouses received death threats from the CyberCaliphate, which was supposedly an arm of ISIS. But an AP investigation has learned the spouses were targeted by Russian hackers – known as “Fancy Bear” or “APT28” –  who also went after journalists, defense contractors and U.S. government officials. The cyber security company Secureworks provided the AP with Russians’ digital hit list of 4,700 Gmail addresses, and the AP determined the Russians were actively trying to break into the spouses’ emails around the time of the CyberCaliphate attack.
  • Amy Bushatz, one of the five military spouses targeted in the 2015 attack, also covers family issues for Military.com. On Tuesday, she wrote that if the hackers compromised her email account, they may have also gained access to her Army Family Readiness Group, which has personal information on up to 500 soldiers – yet the Army and U.S. government failed to notify her or anyone else in the group.
  • “Thanks to the Army’s support system and its reliance on a network of unit family member volunteers instead of paid employees, a foreign state can quickly and easily gain access to the personal data of families of deploying troops, including their physical locations, simply by targeting the unsecured email accounts of unit spouses,” Bushatz wrote.
  • “It’s not hard to see how the troop and family security situation unravels once that access is gained. If a U.S. soldier was to be captured and interrogated, how could information on his or her family be used? How could it be leveraged through social media? How could it be utilized through a targeted misinformation campaign?”

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