The Democratic National Committee said Wednesday that it was alerted to an attempted hack of its voter database this week and that it had notified law enforcement. The effort to target the Democratic Party’s voter file, known as Votebuilder, was not successful, and a party official said the identities of the culprits were unclear. When the Democratic National Committee was hacked in 2016 during the presidential campaign, the incident was traced to Russia. This week’s attempt was aggressive, two officials briefed on it said. The hackers set up a fake page that mimicked the party’s login page for its voter-registration website, a tactic that could gather names, passwords and other credentials of those using the voter database. The hackers also may have sent emails to people within the national committee to try to trick them into using the fake page, a tactic known as “spearphishing,” the officials said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident, one of the officials said.
“This attempt is further proof that there are constant threats as we head into midterm elections, and we must remain vigilant in order to prevent future attacks,” said Bob Lord, chief security officer for the Democratic National Committee. He called the voter file “the party’s most sensitive information.”
The combination of this attack on the committee, continued influence operations by Russia and others using social media, and efforts to breach think tanks underscores that the cyber age has changed elections forever. So many systems are vulnerable to manipulation, from the voter-registration systems in the 50 states to the inner workings of the parties, that the opportunities for foreign and domestic manipulation are many.