The Democratic National Committee reports that its entire database of opposition research into Donald Trump was compromised and accessed by Russian hackers. That includes all email and chat logs as well, according to security experts who responded to the data breach. Officials first noticed “unusual network activity” in late April and believe that the hackers may have gained entry through a targeted spearphishing campaign. What’s more, this appears to be just one of a number of recent incursions by the Russians who, in recent months, have reportedly hacked Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns as well as a few GOP superPACS.
Officials say that no personal information or financial data was accessed during the DNC break-in, which leads them to believe that this was common state-sponsored espionage rather than a criminal heist. “It’s the job of every foreign intelligence service to collect intelligence against their adversaries,” Shawn Henry, president of security firm CrowdStrike, told The Washington Post. “We’re perceived as an adversary of Russia. Their job when they wake up every day is to gather intelligence against the policies, practices and strategies of the U.S. government.” Before you go clutching your pearls, remember that the US — heck, every nation on the planet — engages in espionage to some degree. Hacking, Henry continued, “is one of the more valuable because it gives you a treasure trove of information.”
And despite Trump’s unnervingly intense man-crush on Russia’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, security experts doubt that this hack was done for Trump’s benefit. Instead, it is far more likely that they’re doing their own research on the presumptive Republican nominee to assess his numerous weaknesses. “Trump’s foreign investments, for example, would be relevant to understanding how he would deal with countries where he has those investments.” Robert Deitz, a former general counsel at the NSA told WaPo. “They may provide tips for understanding his style of negotiating.” And with that information, Russia would be able to better manipulate the former real estate developer should he become president.