Democrats find hackers targeting voter database

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Update: The DNC said late Wednesday that the operation was not by a malicious actor. More coverage here.

The Democratic National Committee reached out to the FBI after cybersecurity firm Lookout found a spearphishing operation aimed at breaking into the Democrats’ voter database, CNN reported on Wednesday.

Lookout discovered the hacking attempt on Monday using its “phishing AI detection” tool which found a phishing site replicating the login to NGP VAN, the tech provider to Democratic and progressive campaigns and organizations.

The DNC was the victim of an expansive and successful phishing campaign leading into the 2016 elections that saw thousands of internal emails made public. That campaign has been widely linked to Russian government-sponsored hackers.

On Monday, the same day the attempted hacking campaign was first discovered, President Donald Trump again expressed doubt that Russians hacked Democratic targets in the 2016 campaign.

“Our Principal Engineer for phishing, Jeremy Richards, received an alert from our phishing AI detection, and Lookout started to investigate the phishing site, which we saw was hosted on DigitalOcean,” Lookout spokesperson Eileen Kemp said. “After notifying the hosting provider the phishing site was then taken down by DigitalOcean within hours. As that investigation progressed, our VP of Security Intelligence, Mike Murray, reached out to DNC, NGP VAN, and DigitalOcean to initiate the response process and start the investigation.”

Here is the original alert:

It’s not clear who is behind the hacking attempt.

“This attempt is further proof that there are constant threats as we head into midterm,” the Democrats’ Chief Security Officer Bob Lord said. “We need the administration to take more aggressive steps to protect our voting systems. It is their responsibility to protect our democracy.”

The DNC was the victim of an expansive and successful phishing campaign leading into the 2016 elections that saw thousands of internal emails made public. That campaign has been widely linked to Russian government-sponsored hackers.

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DNC, Lookout, spearphishing
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