Politics

DCCC Hacked in Series of Cyberattacks Against Democratic Groups

FBI investigating the targeting of House Democrats' campaign outfit

The disclosure of the computer network breach at the DCCC follows earlier reports of a similar cyberattack on the DNC. (Courtesy DCCC.org)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee confirmed Friday that its computer network had been “the target of a cybersecurity incident” and there appeared to be a link to the earlier Democratic National Committee hack.  

DCCC National Press Secretary Meredith Kelly said in a statement: “Upon discovering the issue, we immediately took action and engaged with CrowdStrike, a leading forensic investigator, to assist us in addressing this incident. The investigation is ongoing.”  

CrowdStrike confirmed that the DCCC has hired them following the DNC attack but said they could not comment further on the ongoing probe.  

Kelly also said that the DCCC was informed by investigators "that this is similar to other recent incidents, including the DNC breach.”  

According to Reuters , the FBI is investigating the breach at both organizations.   

Security experts say signs point to hackers from Russia as being behind the DCCC intrusion. They're also suspected in the DNC hack.  

“We were able to see that from June 19 to 27, traffic … was being directed to servers controlled by Russian actors,” said Christopher Porter, a manager at FireEye, a cybersecurity company which has studied the DCCC case. The hackers registered a website with a similar domain name to the committee's official website — a common tactic for hackers, Porter said.  

“What’s new here is that the Russian state-sponsored actors are willing to go against the United States,” he said. “We have seen cyber operations [from Russians] that were designed to have political effect, somewhat routinely, but it’s been mostly in Russia’s periphery or close neighbors.”  

   

The hack may have been intended to gather information about donors, Reuters reported. Donors usually submit names, email addresses and credit card information when making a contribution.   

Porter said the hackers’ goals could be to spy on the donors, profile their computers or to collect “information to build intelligence on politically important people.”  

“I think they’re doing that to send a message to U.S. policy makers,” he said. “They could have been more covert if they wanted, but they’ve chosen to leave a trail.”

The DCCC raises money for Democrats running for House. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico is the committee's chairman.

 

Last week, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks published just over 19,000 internal emails sent or received by officials from the DNC. According to news accounts, personal data like Social Security and passport numbers were leaked.

In June, the committee said that Russian government hackers had breached its computer system.

 

The correspondence released indicated a clear preference among DNC officials for Hillary Clinton over her primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders during the party's primaries.  The revelation likely assisted in committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announcing that she would resign her position at the end of the Democratic National Convention. She made no appearances on stage in Philadelphia this week. 

No emails from the DCCC have been seen on WikiLeaks.

A source at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said their system has not been compromised. 

Kelly said that the DCCC will continue "to take steps to enhance the security of our network in the face of these recent events. We are cooperating with the federal law enforcement with respect to their ongoing investigation."

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