FBI Opens DNC Hack Probe; Clinton Says Russia is Pro-Trump

The FBI has confirmed that officials are investigating a compromise of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), suspected to be carried out by Russian hackers.

"The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC and are working to determine the nature and scope of the matter," the agency said in a statement on Monday. "A compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously, and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace."

The FBI also sent security experts to meet with the Republican National Committee (RNC), as well as the major campaigns, to discuss their security measures. No other incursions have yet been identified.

Over the weekend, just as the Democratic National Convention started up in Philadelphia, Wikileaks began publishing emails purportedly coming from DNC officials; more than 19,000 of them, in a searchable database. The missives show a distinct bias within the DNC for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over her main rival in the primaries, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Considering that the party national committees are tasked with holding no opinion themselves, but rather are meant to serve as administrative arms that ensure that voters’ rights are protected and that their wishes are carried out, that revelation is significant for many. This is especially relevant in light of the controversy over Clinton’s top-heavy super-delegate count—a state of affairs widely seen as orchestrated by DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman Schultz, a polarizing figure both within and without the party, announced her resignation Sunday.

The emails are suspected to be a result of a year-long breach of the DNC, which third-party security researchers hired by the DNC said was the result of attacks by two Russian hacking groups—the same bad actors behind other hacks on the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Ironically, and embarrassingly, amongst the trove of mails is one from DNC deputy communications director Eric Walker on May 5 sharing a BuzzFeed News report in which cybersecurity experts questioned the online security of both the DNC and RNC.

 “The dumbest thing I’ve ever read: Buzzfeed: These Experts Think The DNC And RNC Are Both Horrible At Cybersecurity,” Walker wrote in the subject line.

The Clinton campaign, for its part, said that the leak is likely an attempt by the Russian government to sway the US election in Republican candidate Donald Trump’s favor. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told CNN that "changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian," and that "I don't think it's coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and I think that's disturbing.”

He was referring to the fact that Trump told the New York Times that the US wouldn't defend NATO allies against Russia unless those states have "fulfilled their obligation to us." He declined specifics but reiterated that NATO would not be sacrosanct in a Trump presidency.

Trump took to Twitter to respond to the Clinton theory: "The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me."

Photo © Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?