When Russian hackers targeted the staff of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., they took aim at maybe the most vulnerable sector of U.S. elections: campaigns. McCaskill’s Senate staff received fake emails, as first reported by The Daily Beast, in an apparent attempt by Russia’s GRU intelligence agency to gain access to passwords. McCaskill released a statement confirming the attack but said there is no indication the attack was successful. “Russia continues to engage in cyber warfare against our democracy. I will continue to speak out and press to hold them accountable,” McCaskill said. “I will not be intimidated. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Putin is a thug and a bully.”
The Missouri Democrat is running for re-election in November, in a state President Trump won by almost 20 percentage points; she is widely considered among the most vulnerable Democrats running for re-election in the Senate this year.
Although the attack on her staff is the first known instance of a Russian attempt at the kind of cyber-intrusion used on the Clinton campaign with great success in 2016, there is reason to believe it won’t be the last.