FBI Investigates Cyberattack Targeting Congressional Campaign in California


The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reportedly probing a cyber attack on the congressional campaign of Democratic candidate David Min.

According to Reuters, the hackers managed to successfully infiltrate a computer belonging to the candidate’s election campaign. Min is a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives who was later defeated in the June primary for California’s 45th Congressional district.

Citing sources directly involved in the investigation, the perpetrators of the attack against Min’s campaign currently remain unclear. It’s also unknown why the attack was carried out and what the hackers did with any of the information obtained as a result of the attack.

Min’s staff received a notice from the facility manager of the campaign’s rented space in March that pointed to unusual patterns of activity indicating a cyberattack. The campaign, which employed four people, had zero expertise to deal with the attack. The team enlisted the expertise of software developers sharing the same rented space who eventually discovered that hackers had installed spyware on the computers belonging to Min’s campaign manager and finance director, recording their keystrokes and transmitting them. Pointedly, the hackers had also installed software that hid the malware from routine retail antivirus software used by the campaign staff.

The case does illustrate the dire lack of cybersecurity measures employed by election campaigns, particularly in the months ahead of the upcoming November mid-term elections.

Although national political parties offer basic training and tools (software) to aid candidates during their campaigns, they do not equip the latter with the financial support to recruit computer security experts, oftentimes even after a campaign has been hacked.

Image credit: Wikimedia.