The Washington Post is reporting that Russian government hackers penetrated DNC computers over a year ago and have everything including all email and chat traffic. According to Washington Post sources their main purpose was to steal opposition research about Donald Trump.
The Post said that Russian spies were also targeting the networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and some GOP political action committees, but it is unknown if breaches were made at this time.
From the Washington Post:
The DNC said that no financial, donor or personal information appears to have been accessed or taken, suggesting that the breach was traditional espionage, not the work of criminal hackers.
The intrusions are an example of Russia’s interest in the U.S. political system and its desire to understand the policies, strengths and weaknesses of a potential future president — much as American spies gather similar information on foreign candidates and leaders.
The depth of the penetration reflects the skill and determination of the United States’ top cyber adversary as Russia goes after strategic targets, from the White House and State Department to political campaign organizations.
Shawn Henry, the president of CrowdStrike and former F.B.I. agent, spoke to MSNBC: “We were able to identify with a very high degree of confidence a group that we have attributed back to the Russian government targeting that D.N.C. network. Foreign intelligence services are constantly interested in political processes.”
“We were actually called by the DNC through their Counsel when they saw that there were some irregularities,” stated Henry. “They were concerned about a potential breach within their environment. We came in and did our typical incident response, we deployed certain pieces of technology that we use to try to get some visibility into the extent, the depth and breadth of this particular breach. In the course of this working very closely with the staff of the DNC we were able to identify with a very high degree of confidence a group that we have attributed back to the Russian government.”
Henry added, “We know with certainty, my time in the Bureau, that foreign intelligence services are constantly interested in political processes, their interested in strategies, their interested in foreign policies, ect. The DNC and others have been targeted over the years by this very very sophisticated group with a high degree of capability and some very very sophisticated technology.”
“Typically on our network we’ve got corporate strategies, email communication, documents, spreadsheets, PDF, calendars, etc.,” commented Henry. “The foreign intelligence services understand and recognize that organizations maintain this information and they’re looking to get any type of advantage as the political process continues to help them better develop their political strategies and to have a deep understanding of candidates. In this particular case, this groups level of sophistication is very very high, very very difficult to detect and they are able to maintain persistence for long periods of time without being uncovered. Because of that ability to remain stealth in the environment they’re able to look at these communications and documents for a protracted period of time.”