Russian government hackers hacked into the Democratic National Committees (DNC) servers and gained access to an entire database on opposition research against Donald Trump as well as information on Democratic candidates, according to POLITICO.
DNC officials and security experts said they were able to read emails and chat traffic in the DNC system.
The DNC said that no financial, personal or donor information was accessed which is a tell tale sign that it was espionage.
They accessed this information to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of United States leaders such as potential Presidents of the United States.
“We’re perceived as an adversary of Russia,” Shawn Henry, the president of CrowdStrike, the cyber firm in charge of the DNC breach, told the Washington Post. “Their job when they wake up every day is to gather intelligence against the policies, practices and strategies of the U.S. government. There are a variety of ways. [Hacking] is one of the more valuable because it gives you a treasure trove of information.”
“Trump’s foreign investments, for example, would be relevant to understanding how he would deal with countries where he has those investments” Robert Deitz, a former general counsel for the NSA told the Washington Post. “They may provide tips for understanding his style of negotiating. In short, this sort of intelligence could be used by Russia, for example, to indicate where it can get away with foreign adventurism.”
The hackers had access to the DNC network for roughly a year but it wasn’t until this past weekend that they were cleared out. It wasn’t until April that the DNC information technology team noticed unusual activity in their system. Within 24 hours, CrowdStrike installed software to analyze the data to find out who gained access to the network.
“The security of our system is critical to our operation and to the confidence of the campaigns and state parties we work with,” the DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “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.”
A Russian Embassy spokesman told the Washington Post he was not aware of the hacking.