The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Russian hackers gained access to and stole the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) entire cache of opposition research on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (via The Hill):
The hackers were so deep into the DNC’s network that they were able to read all email and online chat communications, the report said, citing committee officials and security experts.
No donor, financial or personal information was accessed in the breach, which suggests the hackers were conducting traditional espionage, not cybercrime for financial gain.
The hackers also targeted the campaigns of Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee; and Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee; as well as several GOP political action committees, officials said. But they provided no further details.
The Russian Embassy has denied knowledge of the breach.
According to officials, some hackers had access to the DNC’s systems for over a year. Security experts say Russian hackers routinely conduct traditional intelligence gathering on American targets, and the U.S. itself actively engages in hacking for intelligence purposes.
The group responsible for the theft of the Trump opposition research is believed to work for Russia’s military intelligence service. Security firm CrowdStrike believes they gained access to the DNC system via a spear-phishing campaign, which uses fake emails to trick people into downloading software that grants hackers access.