Russian Govt Hackers Breach DNC Network, Steal Trump Opposition Research

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) / AP
June 14, 2016

Russian government hackers stole opposition research on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network.

The hackers had access to the DNC network for roughly a year before being removed last weekend, the Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing committee officials and security experts.

The group of hackers gained access to the DNC’s opposition research database and email and chat applications.

"The security of our system is critical to our operation and to the confidence of the campaigns and state parties we work with," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), the DNC chairwoman, told the Washington Post. "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."

The DNC said that no financial or personal information was compromised.

A Russian Embassy spokesman denied knowledge of the breaches.

The FBI notified the DNC of the breach in April. Within 24 hours of the alert, CrowdStrike installed monitoring software on the DNC’s computers to investigate the hacks.

"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 I.T. 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 targeting that DNC network," Shawn Henry, the president of CrowdStrike, told MSNBC on Tuesday.

Henry, who formerly served as the executive assistant director at the FBI, said foreign intelligence forces have an interest in gaining access to U.S. political strategies and foreign policy.

The computer networks of Hillary Clinton, Trump, and some Republican political action committees have also been targeted by Russian hackers, U.S. officials told the Washington Post.