December 4, 2022

Russian hackers were just exposed targeting a key Democratic Senator’s 2018 campaign

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The Daily Beast is reporting that their analysis discovered Russian hackers attempted to breach the campaign files of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), a vulnerable Democrat in a red state whose re-election will be one of the most hotly contested races in the 2018 midterms.


Thankfully, the August 2017 hacking attempt by Russian military intelligence, the GRU, did not succeed. It appears that it was a phishing attack like the one that former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta fell for in 2016.

An email was sent to Senatorial inboxes informing them their passwords had expired with a link to reset it; the link would then direct the user to a replica of the Senate’s Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) page with a login box for emails and their “old” passwords. After entering the information, the passwords would then be used to access the real email inboxes.

Microsoft, which was granted authority by a court to unilaterally seize websites used by GRU hackers which include a Microsoft trademark, “redirected the traffic from the fake Senate site to its own sinkhole server, putting it in a prime position to view targets trying to click through to change their passwords,” reports the Daily Beast

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The issue of Russian interference in the 2018 midterms has become a prominent topic of discussion in Washington as Democrats, the intelligence community, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and by President Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security are all sounding the alarm while President Trump wavers back and forth on whether or not it’s even a possibility at all.

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In a statement on the attempted hack, Senator McCaskill said that “Russia continues to engage in cyber warfare against our democracy. I will continue to speak out and press to hold them accountable. While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. I will not be intimidated. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Putin is a thug and a bully.”

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Protecting the integrity of our elections and keeping them free from interference, be it gerrymandered districts, restrictive voter ID laws, or Russian hackers, is one of the biggest challenges facing our republic, and it is deeply disturbing to see that Russian efforts to undermine the Democratic Party have already begun. If our president won’t take the Russian threat seriously, it’s up to our elected officials to take action.

Read the exclusive Daily Beast report here.

Natalie Dickinson

Natalie is a staff writer for the Washington Press. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been freelance blogging and writing for progressive outlets ever since.

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