DNC Hack Actually Unsanctioned Security Test, Officials Now Say

A phony login page to the Democratic National Committee’s voter database was part of an unauthorized security test initiated by the Michigan Democratic Party.

by Lauren Gibbons, MLive.com / August 24, 2018
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(TNS) — A suspected hacking attempt into the Democratic National Committee's security systems ended up being a security test sanctioned by the Michigan Democratic Party, officials said Thursday.

The Democratic National Committee notified the FBI this week about a suspected attempt to hack into the party's voter information database, but DNC Chief Security Officer Bob Lord now says the hack was "built by a third party as part of a simulated phishing test on VoteBuilder."

"The test, which mimicked several attributes of actual attacks on the Democratic party's voter file, was not authorized by the DNC, VoteBuilder nor any of our vendors," Lord said in a statement.

The test was authorized by the Michigan Democratic Party, party chair Brandon Dillon confirmed in a statement. The tests were run by the state party's "digital partners" in an effort to fortify cybersecurity, he said.

"Despite our misstep and the alarms that were set off, it's most important that all of the security systems in place worked," Dillon said. "Cybersecurity experts agree this kind of testing is critical to protecting an organization's infrastructure, and we will continue to work with our partners, including the DNC, to protect our systems and our democracy."

DNC officials announced Wednesday that it was notified hackers had created a fake login page to collect usernames and passwords for the party's voter file, but said the effort was thwarted quickly and that no information was compromised, according to the Associated Press.

The news that the Michigan Democratic Party was the cause for concern sparked criticism from Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, who said on Twitter: "I guess the Democrats still haven't figured out how to talk to people in Michigan."

 

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