Clinton campaign, Democratic campaign group target of new hack - report

© Mario Anzuoni
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic Party's fundraising committee for its US House of Representatives candidates fell victim to cyber-attacks that are being investigated by the FBI, according to a Reuters report.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) was the target of a cyber-attack in which a dummy website was registered as late as June to mimic a DCCC fundraising domain. The fake website directed donations away from ActBlue, the donation processing contractor working with the DCCC, according to a Reuters report. 

What data was exposed is yet unclear, though various personal information including credit card details could have been accessed. Anonymous sources told Reuters that the hack may have been an attempt to cull information about DCCC donors rather than to steal money.

In a separate Reuters report, it was revealed that Clinton's campaign was also victim of a cyber-attack of unknown origin. It is not yet clear what information within the Clinton campaign's computer system was accessed. The US Department of Justice is investigating but would not comment to Reuters on the matter.

Shortly before this week's Democratic National Convention Wikileaks released tens of thousands of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails indicating the supposedly neutral body favored presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in her race against fellow Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders. The Democratic National Committee, the national strategy and fundraising arm of the Democratic Party, shares its offices in Washington with the DCCC.

A few days later accusations were made blaming Russian hackers for the attack. The Democratic Party and Clinton's campaign have leaned heavily on the narrative that Russia was involved in the hack, likely to distract from the leaked emails' damning contents.

"I have concerns that an agency of foreign intelligence is hacking and interfering with a US election," Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told Reuters. The Clinton campaign has also accused Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump of encouraging further intrusions into the Democratic Party's communications.

Yet US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said there is no clear indication of the culprit.

“We don’t know enough to ascribe motivation regardless of who it might have been,” he said Thursday from the Aspen Security Forum.

Neither the DCCC, nor investigators named any culprits in the attack on DCCC, but Reuters reported citing its anonymous sources that the fake site's IP address "resembled one used by Russian government-linked hackers suspected in the breach of the" DNC.

“We don’t see the point any more in repeating yet again that this is silliness," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.

He added: "It is so absurd it borders on total stupidity."

The fake website in the DCCC hack was the host to complex malware that can easily elude most antivirus monitors, cyber experts told Reuters.

"It's really rare malware," according to Justin Harvey, chief security officer with Fidelis Cybersecurity, suggesting the hack was unlikely to be the work of independent criminals.

ActBlue, the donation processing contractor for the DCCC, said none of its servers or customer information was compromised. The FBI only said that its investigation of the DNC hack is ongoing.

"The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC and are working to determine the nature and scope of the matter. A compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously, and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace."

The Clinton campaign did not comment on the hack of its systems, only referring to previous claims that hacks targeting the Democratic Party are "a national security issue."