Democratic National Committee hacked by proxy of Russian government
Hack lasted over 1 year, Trump oppo research, internal emails and chat communications breached
Hackers also targeted the Trump and Clinton campaigns
Experts consider issue normal espionage – data mining for leaverage over a potential president
Donanld Trump., Russian hackers were researching him
Democratic National Committee officials on Tuesday confirmed affiliated with the Russian government have been tapping into the files of the DNC for nearly a year, targeting in particular the party’s opposition research about Republican presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.
A cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which the DNC brought in to harden its system detailed on its website how it had traced the intrusion back to the Russian government. They identified that the DNC’s research on Trump had been accessed by the hackers, as well as, internal emails and chat communications.
In a related development, it was revealed that the hackers had targeted the Trump and Clinton campaigns, also.
Democratic National Committee chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Reacting to the revealation, Sec Clinton called the incident “troubling.” Adding that her campaign was not aware of any breach of their systems, but “we’re obviously looking hard at that,” she said, adding that the security breach at the DNC was another warning that such threats are on the rise.
DNC said sensitive donor information was compromised, rather, the hackers rifled through thousands of pages of research compiled to use in general eclection campaign gainst Donald Trump. Staff though initially found the choice of target files puzzling since the information for the most part, was gathered for the express purpose of being made public. However security insiders said extensive files on a potential U.S. leader would be the sort of information that foreign spy agencies would devote considerable resources to obtain.
“Donald Trump is probably not someone the foreign intelligence services had too much of a dossier on, unlike Clinton,” who has been in public life for decades, said Paulo Shakarian, a cybersecurity scholar at Arizona State University. “What better database to get for someone who wants to know his dirty secrets?”
Hillary Clinton: Her campaign was also targeted
A cybersecurity analyst noted that foreign security and intelligence agencies have always seen gathering as much information as possible on serious candidates as part of their mission, dating back to before the prevalence of computers for campaigns.
“Russia is doing exactly what we’d expect them to do: looking for information on the major candidates in preparation for dealing with either of them come next year,” he said.
“I would not be surprised if the Russians are looking for information on Donald Trump that they could use as leverage for extortion should he assume office. If that’s the case, what better resource could there be than the other side’s opposition research?”
It will be recalled that in the last presidential campaign, Chinese hackers took aim at the systems of both the Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns
President Purin (left). His government has denied any knowledge of the hack
“The capabilities of these hackers are very well defined and continue to increase,” said CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry, who headed computer crime investigations for the FBI. “Their ability to hide themselves, their ability to maintain a presence on the network, and their ability to move throughout the network are regularly increasing.”
On her part, the DNC chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, said in a statement:
“The security of our system is critical to our operation and to the confidence of the campaigns and state parties we work with.”
“When we discovered the intrusion, we treated this like the serious incident it is and reached out to CrowdStrike immediately. Our team moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network.”
These cyberattacks follow a traditional pattern of e-espionage. The Russians have been aggressively probing U.S. government and political data systems in efforts to collect any information that can help them better understand the inner workings of Washington and the motivations and vulnerabilities of the people who run it.
The Russians are generally regarded as being some of the best in the world at breaking into the systems, they do things a lot more stealthy and with a lot less notice than others. If they find something about a particular candidate of value that they can exploit, they will do it.
The Russian government has denied any involvement with the hacking incident. However, in its report, CrowdStrike identified the culprits as two hacking organizations who have deep ties to Moscow – Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, both considered among some of the best globally, in the world of numerous nation-state, criminal and hacktivist/terrorist groups.
The latter group is believed to work for the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU, while the Cozy Bear group may work for the FSB, the successor agency to the KGB internal security agency, which President Vladimir Putin once headed. The two groups it is believed, are more likely competing than cooperating with each other. Both adversaries engage in extensive political and economic espionage for the benefit of the government of the Russian Federation and are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.