Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a session in the Moscow’s Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Jan. 9.
Image: Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

An unverified report published by BuzzFeed alleges that Russian intelligence offered to invest in a U.S. tech entrepreneur’s business, in exchange for access that would let them launch cyberattacks.

The claims in the unverified dossier have been denied by the Trump campaign, the president-elect, and Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen( who’s named in its reporting as an alleged collaborator of the Russians ). CNNwhich had research reports but didn’t publish itis saying that it was preparedby a former British intelligence agent, funded by “anti-Trump Republicans” and Democrat. The dossier has reportedly been circulated government officials and journalists for weeks prior to CNN’s news break on it, and Buzzfeed’s publication of it.

According to Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, BuzzFeed published the entire dossier on Tuesday “so that Americans can make up their own intellects about accusations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.”

The report alleges that Russia’s Federal Security Service( FSB) approached an American citizen “of Russian ethnicity” and “offered to provide seed capital to this person in return for them being able to access and modify his IP, with a view to targeting priority foreign targets by planting a Trojan virus in the software. The U.S. guest was told this was common practice.”

In the next line, research reports adds that the Russian security services “had connoted significant operational success as a result of installing cheap Russian IT games containing their own malware unwittingly by targets on their PCs and other platforms.”

A Trojan horse is a program that sneaks its way into a computer by pretending to be benign. Once there, it implants whatever virus the hacker has uploaded.

The report doesn’t name the entrepreneur , nor the company the person or persons leads, though it does imply that this incident wasn’t the only time Russian officials tried this tactic.

Russian hacking’s been a central through-line of the 2016 presidential campaign. American intel officials accused the Russian government of directing a hacking campaign against the Democratic National Committee, as well as the Hillary Clinton campaign. Though totally unverified, the allegations contained in Buzzfeed’s report are of an historical proportionunlike any seen this close to the inauguration of an American president-elect.

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