As the Democratic National Convention continues its week-long stay in Philadelphia, accusations of Russian hacking continue to cloud the proceedings. At this point, it seems likely that Russia is responsible. What’s less clear is what that will mean going forward.
It’s been a bad stretch for the Democratic National Committee. Hackers broke into its servers months ago, stealing private emails, opposition research, and campaign correspondence. Last Friday, Wikileaks made nearly 20,000 of those private emails public, revealing embarrassing details of the political machine’s inner workings. DNC official allege that the Russian government is behind the breach. The New York Times reports that US intelligence agencies increasingly share that opinion. According to a number of top cybersecurity researchers, they’re probably right.
News of the hack of the Democratic National Committee first broke in mid-June. That’s when Crowdstrike, a firm that analyzes threats to network security, revealed that the DNC had called it in to inspect the party’s servers, where it found “two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network.” Crowdstrike released a comprehensive report of its findings on June 14, which accompanied a Washington Post article detailing the attacks. One of the hacking groups, Crowdstrike found, had access to the DNC servers for almost a year.
A day after that report, someone calling themselves Guccifer 2.0 (an allusion to notorious hacker Guccifer) claimed claimed responsibility for the hack in a blog post. Through the blog and an accompanying Twitter account, Guccifer 2.0 refuted Crowdstrike’s claims that this was a Russian operation, instead calling himself a “lone hacker.” He also claimed to have handed much of the DNC bounty to Wikileaks.