Members of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 U.S. presidential campaign opened malicious links likely sent by Russian military intelligence dozens of times prior to her defeat last fall, new research reveals.
Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU, targeted at least 109 Clinton campaign staffers during a month-long hacking spree waged prior to last year’s presidential election, in addition to Mrs. Clinton’s own personal email account, Dr. Thomas Rid, a King’s College professor who investigated the campaign, said Thursday.
Hackers sent Clinton staffers 214 individual phishing emails between March 10 and April 7, 2016, each containing a link leading to a different bogus log-in page designed to trick recipients into unwittingly surrendering their account credentials, according to Mr. Rid.
Targeted Clinton staffers clicked those malicious links a total of 36 times, he added, subsequently resulting in the breach of no fewer than four separate campaign-related accounts.
While an array of hacks targeted the Democratic Party unfolded during the run-up to last year’s race, the Clinton campaign previously said its internal systems were not compromised ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Motherboard reported Thursday. A former Clinton campaign spokesperson declined to speak of Mr. Rid’s findings, and the Clinton Foundation did not immediately respond to requests for comment, the website reported.
Mr. Ridpresented his research while testifying at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday alongside cybersecurity professional Kevin Mandia and retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, the former head of the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command. When pressed by lawmakers, all three witnesses said they believed Russia was responsible for interfering in last year’s White House race, echoing the official conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community.