Russian 2016 Hack of DNC/Clinton Campaign

On July 13, 2018, 12 Russian nationals were charged by indictment with conducting cyber operations against the United States in an effort to “interfere with the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.”

In 2016 multiple cyber units of the Russian “GRU” (Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff were able to secure, steal and distribute thousands of emails and documents from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DNCC), Democratic National Committee (DNC), and various members of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign including her then campaign chairman.

The theft and entry into the DNCC systems and emails was made through a combination of spear phishing and malware. Indeed two of the domains registered by the Russian units to steal login information from the Clinton campaign were “qooqle.com” and “account-gooogle.com.”

Once the documents were accessed and secured the Russians created fictitious personas named “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0.” to act as spokespersons, purportedly lone hackers unaffiliated with the Russian cyber operations team to begin the release of the trove of documents and emails. The personas then made contact with various individuals and groups from Wikileaks to Donald Trump associate Roger Stone to work to disseminate the information.

In April 2016 the hackers were planning the release of the documents, by June they began releasing thousands of stolen emails and documents.

The hacking groups used a variety of methods to conceal their methods, mostly by purchasing domains, servers and hosting via Bitcoin and using over 100 different email accounts. They also funded at least portions of the operations by Bitcoin mining.

The Russian nationals were charged with various violations of US Criminal Code, Title 18 and the indictment was filed by U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.

The indictment named the following defendants:

VIKTOR BORISOVICH NETYKSHO
BORIS ALEKSEYEVICH ANTONOV
DMITRIY SERGEYEVICH BADIN
IVAN SERGEYEVICH YERMAKOV
ALEKSEY VIKTOROVICH LUKASHEV,
SERGEY ALEKSANDROVICH MORGACHEV
NIKOLAY YURYEVICH KOZACHEK
PAVEL VYACHESLAVOVICH YERSHOV
ARTEM ANDREYEVICH MALYSHEV
ALEKSANDR VLADIMIROVICH OSADCHUK
ALEKSEY ALEKSANDROVICH POTEMKIN
ANATOLIY SERGEYEVICH KOVALEV

Interesting Facts:

  • Despite the fact that the DNCC and DNC were made aware that they had been hacked by May 2016, the hackers retained access in the DNC servers until October of 2016 by applying countermeasures to continue their access.
  • The same computer that created the Twitter account, @dcleaks_ operated the Twitter account @BaltimoreIsWhr, which was an account created to post anti Hillary Clinton propoganda like the use of the hashtag #BlacksAgainstHillary.

Sources Used For This Article:

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