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Spy Chief: Foreign Hackers May Be Targeting Presidential Candidates (nbcnews.com) 91

An anonymous reader writes from a report via NBC News: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned Wednesday that foreign hackers may be targeting the campaigns of U.S. presidential candidates. The FBI and Homeland Security are working with the campaigns to tighten security and prevent cyber intruders from penetrating their defenses, said Clapper. "We have already had some indications of that, and a combination of DHS, FBI are doing what they can to educate both candidates of potential cyber threats," Clapper said, without specifying which candidates they were advising. "I anticipate as the campaigns intensify we will probably have more of it." A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News that they are "most worried about Trump, who has no experience with government computer systems or protocols." Foreign hacking against American political candidates is nothing new, Clapper said. Prior to the 2008 presidential election, Chinese cyber spies had targeted the presidential campaigns of then Sen. Obama and Sen. John McCain in order to read emails and policy papers. The hackers successfully compromised some emails, including private correspondence from McCain, NBC News reported. Also, both Obama's and GOP candidate Mitt Romney's campaigns were hit by Chinese cyber-attacks during the 2012 election. The Office of the DNI clarified Clapper's remarks tweeting: "We're aware that campaigns and related organizations and individuals are targeted by actors with a variety of motivations -- from philosophical differences to espionage -- and capabilities -- from defacements to intrusions. We defer to FBI for specific incidents."
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Spy Chief: Foreign Hackers May Be Targeting Presidential Candidates

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    for some success for these hackers...
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Well, they replaced Trump's sites with insult-bots, but nobody knew the diff. AND his ratings went UP.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      You can wish them luck, but they are doomed to fail. At least for the leading Democrat candidate. She is a security expert, and if all else fails she will just deny that anything happened.
    • I'm really not worried about Chinese or Russian or Enemy-of-the-month-i-stani 1337 h4x0rs tracking what the US presidential campaigns are doing. I'm much more concerned about US government hackers monitoring who's involved with what political campaigns, and slightly concerned about campaigns and their totally-not-coordinated-with-the-campaign supporters' committees hacking each others' resources.

      The biggest risk with foreign hackers isn't foreign governments tracking our political movements - it's foreign

      • It doesn't concern you that foreign hackers might learn information that could be used to blackmail a sitting president?

  • This reminds me of how Sarah Palin's email was hacked by a US citizen back in 2008: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • It's utterly inconceivable that the US presidential candidates could be tempting targets for hackers!
  • This is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @04:01PM (#52137829)
    Foreign hackers are targeting everything, everywhere. Of course they're targeting political figures.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Indeed. It would be news only if they were not attempting such. Ex: "Strange gap found in hacker target patterns."

    • by jthill ( 303417 )
      But only the foreign ones.
    • Foreign hackers are targeting everything, everywhere. Of course they're targeting political figures.

      Domestic hackers are targeting everything, everywhere too. So are domestic intelligence agencies. So yeah.

  • ...water has been found to be wet...

    ...the Pope is Catholic...

    ...Bears really do shit in the woods, so long as the forest is their habitat.
  • I know! (Score:2, Funny)

    The solution, obviously, is to roll your own email server. Don't put it anywhere secure, someone's closet is OK. Read all your work-related emails on it, even the classified ones. It's a secret so it won't be hacked. If anyone finds out about it, try to laugh it off and claim partisanship is making other people persecute you. Heartily enjoy the warm feeling that comes from knowing you're above the law.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      roll your own email server. Don't put it anywhere secure

      Hey, the regular State Dept. email server was a generic box, and was hacked. [reuters.com] We are comparing Pinto's to Yugo's here, not to Cadillacs.

      Pundits keep implying she skipped "the good system". There was no good system for "regular" work emails.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        She still broke the Law, doesn't matter if the "correct" way was bad as well. she also dodged Data retention laws, laws on handling of classified data and classified programs.... the list goes on.

        • Non-biased legal experts say the related laws are convoluted and murky. After all, how many law makers do you know who can write non-ambiguous and meaningful laws on technology? Bigfoot is probably more common.

          • Re:H [Re:I know!] (Score:5, Insightful)

            by PapayaSF ( 721268 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @05:18PM (#52138251) Journal
            Not that "murky." Hillary was under a sworn obligation to keep classified material secure. She had at least 22 Top Secret documents on her email server. Those things don't just get accidentally forwarded from a secure system. Somebody went to some trouble to move them from a classified system to an unclassified one. That is a federal crime right there. It's also a crime to handle classified materials in a negligent manner.
            • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

              Nobody has presented public evidence that ANY were clearly classified at the time she sent/received them.

              Zilcho.

              • Re:H [Re:I know!] (Score:5, Insightful)

                by PapayaSF ( 721268 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @11:16PM (#52139421) Journal

                Nobody has presented public evidence that ANY were clearly classified at the time she sent/received them.

                Zilcho.

                Irrelevant, and false: Dozens of Clinton emails were classified from the start, U.S. rules suggest [reuters.com]

                Plus, some things are "born classified" [investors.com]. They do not need "clear markings" to be classified, and she knew this.

                Oh, and then there is the email in which she ordered someone to strip the classified markings from a document [wordpress.com]. Quote: "If they can't, turn into non paper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure." That's a smoking gun in my book. If you or I did that, we'd be in federal prison right now.

                • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

                  The first link says "suggests".

                  The second is in the editorial section of the e-mag.

                  The third she said was short-hand shop-talk asking to clean out the classified parts so it could be published. Whether that's true or not is premature to judge. The actual result of that cleaning has not been made public yet. If was cleaned up properly, then it's a non-issue.

                  Still NO smoking gun. You are seeing what you want to see.

              • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

                Generally, but not always the evidence is presented during the trial and not beforehand as it tends to taint the prosecution. Some is presented during the indictment but not all. All that is going on now is straight up corruption, where the corporate chosen Dear Leader is being protected by the current corporate chosen Dear Leader, nothing more and nothing less. A corrupt US government on display to the world and other countries will expose information over time to exacerbate the visibility of that corrupt

      • You're not supposed to put classified material on the State Department email server either. That's why the separate classified network is there. You could make an argument that too many things were classified, but some of the stuff that went over Hillary's server were secret by anyone's definition and should never have touched an internet facing box, ever. The reason she did that was because the NSA would not give her a portable device (which she could access from a plane, or at the Clinton offices) with
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The reason she did it was so that her official emails wouldn't be archived and subject to the FOIA. She did it for the most undemocratic and opaque reasons.

  • So senior officials are talking about how worrying Trump's lack of experience is. Isn't this the administration favoring some candidates? Is this legal in the US?

    Another thing I find disturbing/intriguing is that political parties are private entities. Are the FBI and DHS available to help other private entities worried about their security?

  • Only Trump? (Score:2, Insightful)

    who has no experience with government computer systems or protocols

    I seem to remember another candidate that seemingly has no experience with proper security protocol.

  • Quid quo pro, no?
  • 'The FBI and Homeland Security are working with the campaigns to tighten security and prevent cyber intruders from penetrating their defenses'

    "The Department of Homeland Security today appointed a senior Microsoft Corp. executive to head a section charged with protecting the federal government's computer networks from cyber attacks." ref [washingtonpost.com]

    "Overall, we identified 1,085 instances of high-risk vulnerabilities on the MOE [Mission Operating Environment]" ref [dhs.gov]
  • by gavron ( 1300111 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @06:33PM (#52138547)

    So is Mr. Clapper now going to admit that SECURING WEBSITES and SECURING DATA is a good thing... and to do that we need encryption, or is he going to try to weasel out by somehow pretending you can secure these things but still give law enforcement and hackers access?

    Sooner or later these Washington mouths need to realize that what comes out of one side of their mouth undermines what comes out the other.

    Long live encryption.

    Ehud Gavron
    Tucson AZ

    • While I agree with you the fact is that they will never believe that us the plebs deserve that level of protection and that by simply having it available means that you are a terrorist, pedo, commie, etc.

      It is double plus good to have our information vulnerable and theirs secure. Their biggest take away from the Snowden mess isn't that they shouldn't have been doing illegal shit but that they need to better secure their illegal shit.
  • BWAHAHAHAHA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Wednesday May 18, 2016 @06:59PM (#52138629)

    " A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News that they are "most worried about Trump, who has no experience with government computer systems or protocols."

    As opposed to Hillary's extensive experience of maintaining a secure platform to conduct official business ?

    Technically, she had the experience and knowledge to conduct State Deparment business, she just chose to ignore it.

    Of the two, I would be more concerned about Hillary who KNEW better, but elected to follow her own rules vs the established ones. ( There is a very good reason we handle classified info the way we do. )

  • For all of the alarm bells and billions spent I'll leave the totally feckless public outreach to do anything about it speak for itself.

    They don't really care about helping U.S. based organizations not get owned they just care about scaring politicians into writing them bigger checks and passing more laws to retroactively make legal rummaging thru even more of everyone's shit.

  • . . . I expect generic deploys of commodity platforms and low-bidder content.

    So OF COURSE it's going to be hacked. And similarly, their people tend to be persuaded by the latest plastic fantastic gear, so they'll buy a "next-gen" firewall, fail to properly configure it, and then blame the firewall when they get hacked,

    As for "foreign" hackers, with the plethora of botted boxes worldwide, J. Random Hacker could be sitting in Dubuque, Iowa, and the attack would look like it's coming from all over. . .

  • She has lots of experience being hacked by foreign nationals.

  • I mean, really, the U.S. government is constantly manipulating foreign politics. If they can't take it, they shouldn't be dishing it out.

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