The Democratic National Committee’s data on Donald Trump was stolen by Russian hackers, according committee officials. The hackers were reportedly part of or working for the Russian government, and they managed to make off with a full database of opposition research. A big “cleanup campaign” led to the hackers being booted from the computer network, but some of them are said to have had access for about a year before that. This isn’t the first time Russian hackers have been accused of stealing data on U.S. political figures.
The hackers’ intrusion into the DNC’s computers is said to have been extensive enough to give them access to the committee’s chats and emails. The hackers don’t appear to have been interested in anything related to donors or other figures — there wasn’t any personal data related to them stolen, as far as the DNC knows. Rather, the hack seems to have been a mission to get data on political figures — in this case, Trump.
Speaking to the Washington Post, former NSA general counsel Robert Deitz said:
The purpose of such intelligence gathering is to understand the target’s proclivities. Trump’s foreign investments, for example, would be relevant to understanding how he would deal with countries where he has those investments. They may provide tips for understanding his style of negotiating. In short, this sort of intelligence could be used by Russia, for example, to indicate where it can get away with foreign adventurism.
The DNC tapped CrowdStrike, a security company, after learning about the breach. Steps have been taken to secure the committee’s network. The committee is said to have been made aware of the intrusion back in April, with its IT having noticed suspicious network activity.