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FBI Probes Possible Democrat Mobile Phone Hack

The FBI is looking into the possible hacking of Democratic Party officials’ mobile phones as an investigation into a string of cyber-attacks on the party widens.

Sources told Reuters that the Feds have asked to image the devices of a small number of officials, although it’s not clear whether any are members of Congress.

It’s possible that the attacks are linked to a long-running cyber espionage campaign against the party’s Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which many believe to have been orchestrated by the Kremlin.

There would certainly be geo-political mileage to be gained from disrupting the November presidential elections, or even releasing data which could undermine the eventual winner once in power.

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton was pretty unequivocal during Monday’s debate about the cause of the cyber-attacks.

“Putin is playing a really tough, long game here, and one of the things he's done is to let loose cyber attackers to hack into government files, to hack into personal files, hack into the Democratic National Committee,” she told attendees.

Her rival Donald Trump, who has been accused of being a Putin supporter, fired back that there’s no firm evidence for that yet.

Democrat officials and Clinton campaign spokespeople have either refused to comment or claimed they’re unaware of the FBI’s latest investigation.

In related news, it emerged that attempts to hack election registration data have intensified.

Homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that 18 states have now asked for help in defending against cyber-attacks on their electronic voting systems.

The news follows an FBI alert sent out in August to election officials nationwide after two state-level voter databases were breached by foreign hackers.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Congressman Adam Schiff laid the blame for recent incidents firmly at Russia’s door.

“At the least, this effort is intended to sow doubt about the security of our election and may well be intended to influence the outcomes of the election – we can see no other rationale for the behavior of the Russians,” a joint statement read.

“We believe that orders for the Russian intelligence agencies to conduct such actions could come only from very senior levels of the Russian government.”

Tim Erlin, senior director of product management at Tripwire, argued that in nearly every compromise, the extent of the attack is bigger than that originally disclosed.

“We shouldn’t be surprised to learn that’s true here as well,” he added.

“It’s difficult to guess at the end game of an attacker that’s as well-resourced and expansive as Russia. A nation-state adversary doesn’t generally plan one move, but looks at multiple, multi-step options to achieve a set of goals. This isn’t credit card theft. It’s modern espionage.”

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