Both campaigns experience foreign cyber attacks on computer systems

Rick Moran
Newsweek is reporting that both the Obama and McCain campaign computer systems came under assault from a foreign entity:

The computer systems of both the Obama and McCain campaigns were victims of a sophisticated cyberattack by an unknown "foreign entity," prompting a federal investigation, NEWSWEEK reports today.

 At the Obama headquarters in midsummer, technology experts detected what they initially thought was a computer virus—a case of "phishing," a form of hacking often employed to steal passwords or credit-card numbers. But by the next day, both the FBI and the Secret Service came to the campaign with an ominous warning: "You have a problem way bigger than what you understand," an agent told Obama's team. "You have been compromised, and a serious amount of files have been loaded off your system." The following day, Obama campaign chief David Plouffe heard from White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, to the same effect: "You have a real problem ... and you have to deal with it." The Feds told Obama's aides in late August that the McCain campaign's computer system had been similarly compromised. A top McCain official confirmed to NEWSWEEK that the campaign's computer system had been hacked and that the FBI had become involved.

Officials at the FBI and the White House told the Obama campaign that they believed a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps' policy positions—information that might be useful in negotiations with a future administration. The Feds assured the Obama team that it had not been hacked by its political opponents. (Obama technical experts later speculated that the hackers were Russian or Chinese.) A security firm retained by the Obama campaign took steps to secure its computer system and end the intrusion. White House and FBI officials had no comment earlier this week.


Welcome to the future.

The FBI has feared the Russian mob's hacking ability for years and has warned American companies what kinds of attacks they prefer. The Chinese government has also apparently been active in carrying out full fledged assaults against our military networks including those related to nuclear missiles.

What marks these attacks and makes them so dangerous is their sophistication. The Obama camp was basically unaware of what was going on and only got lucky in discovering the problem. The means of attack was very subtle and virtually untraceable.

This is 21st century warfare carried out by governments. Since nothing is really provable, we cannot complain or protest. This is a war where the arms race is between those who seek new ways to break into systems past safety and security features put in place by experts on the other side whose job is to safeguard our vital systems.

What is known is that we are behind in this arms race but catching up as both the FBI and Secret Service departments responsible in this area have received massive new funding in recent years to counteract the threat. Hopefully, we'll be able to match the hacker's efforts in the near future.




Newsweek is reporting that both the Obama and McCain campaign computer systems came under assault from a foreign entity:

The computer systems of both the Obama and McCain campaigns were victims of a sophisticated cyberattack by an unknown "foreign entity," prompting a federal investigation, NEWSWEEK reports today.

 At the Obama headquarters in midsummer, technology experts detected what they initially thought was a computer virus—a case of "phishing," a form of hacking often employed to steal passwords or credit-card numbers. But by the next day, both the FBI and the Secret Service came to the campaign with an ominous warning: "You have a problem way bigger than what you understand," an agent told Obama's team. "You have been compromised, and a serious amount of files have been loaded off your system." The following day, Obama campaign chief David Plouffe heard from White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, to the same effect: "You have a real problem ... and you have to deal with it." The Feds told Obama's aides in late August that the McCain campaign's computer system had been similarly compromised. A top McCain official confirmed to NEWSWEEK that the campaign's computer system had been hacked and that the FBI had become involved.

Officials at the FBI and the White House told the Obama campaign that they believed a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps' policy positions—information that might be useful in negotiations with a future administration. The Feds assured the Obama team that it had not been hacked by its political opponents. (Obama technical experts later speculated that the hackers were Russian or Chinese.) A security firm retained by the Obama campaign took steps to secure its computer system and end the intrusion. White House and FBI officials had no comment earlier this week.


Welcome to the future.

The FBI has feared the Russian mob's hacking ability for years and has warned American companies what kinds of attacks they prefer. The Chinese government has also apparently been active in carrying out full fledged assaults against our military networks including those related to nuclear missiles.

What marks these attacks and makes them so dangerous is their sophistication. The Obama camp was basically unaware of what was going on and only got lucky in discovering the problem. The means of attack was very subtle and virtually untraceable.

This is 21st century warfare carried out by governments. Since nothing is really provable, we cannot complain or protest. This is a war where the arms race is between those who seek new ways to break into systems past safety and security features put in place by experts on the other side whose job is to safeguard our vital systems.

What is known is that we are behind in this arms race but catching up as both the FBI and Secret Service departments responsible in this area have received massive new funding in recent years to counteract the threat. Hopefully, we'll be able to match the hacker's efforts in the near future.