Hackers linked to the Kremlin have reportedly targeted scholars at think tanks in Washington, D.C., who do work focused on Russia.

Fewer than five organizations and 10 staffers were hit by a "highly targeted operation," Dmitri Alperovitch, CEO of cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, told Defense One on Monday.

The perpetrators, Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, were the same groups linked to the Russian military and Federal Security Service, respectively, and tied to attacks on other prominent organizations this year, including the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

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CrowdStrike declined to identify the organizations. Just one, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, volunteered to out themselves.

"Last week we were under attack, but our small staff was very responsive. Beyond that, I'm not going to discuss the details because it is under active investigation," said CSIS spokesperson Andrew Schwartz.

James Andrew Lewis, a senior vice president at the organization, said the hackers were likely operating under misguided notions. "The Russians just don't get the idea of independent institutions, so they are looking for secret instructions from Obama. Another benefit is they can go to their bosses and show what they took to prove their worth as spies."

However, experts note there is truth to the notion that government officials may seek advice from those who were targeted. "Many of these people are former government officials that still advise current government officials," Alperovitch said, who may be used for "plundered information that's been shared with them, or ... as a way to target government."