Democrats Ignored Cybersecurity Advice before Email Theft

Democrats Ignored Cybersecurity Advice before Email Theft

It’s the cybersecurity event that shook the Democratic National Convention from the beginning. The news of stolen Dem emails resulted in the resignation of Democrat National Committee Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, after evidence was found that she favored Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Turns out, all of it could have been avoided.

The DNC was warned last fall that its computer network was susceptible to attacks. It was their choice to ignore security advice that could have kept hackers away from classified internal e-mails sent by members of the party.

Computer security consultants hired by the DNC found problems ranging from an out-of-date firewall to a lack of advanced malware detection technology on individual computers. The consultants made dozens of recommendations after a two-month review of the systems. Had the committee followed the recommendations, the specialists would have looked for intruders in the network; they would have found that hackers had been lurking in the network. Instead, those hackers stayed for nearly a year.

Instead, security officials didn’t discover the breach until April. By then, it was too late.  The theft ultimately led to the release of almost 20,000 internal e-mails through WikiLeaks on the eve of the Democratic Convention.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining the attack, which law enforcement officials and private security experts say may be linked to the Russian government. President Barack Obama suggested that Russia might be trying to interfere with the presidential race.

Russian officials deny any involvement in the hacking and say they are not trying to influence the race.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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