A leaked email from a Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer ridiculed reports from experts that the DNC and Republican National Convention had glaring cybersecurity issues.
DNC staffer Eric Walker called a Buzzfeed article detailing the security weaknesses of the DNC “The dumbest thing I’ve ever read.” The email is dated May 5, 2016, just over two months before the Wikileak release of over 20,000 DNC emails.
The Buzzfeed article laid out cybersecurity experts’ criticisms of DNC and RNC practices of giving thumb drives to reporters. The CEO of cybersecurity company VERA, Ajay Arora, said using USB sticks “is borderline stupidity” due to vulnerability to hackers.
Walker copied the text of the article in his email and sarcastically added, “So that means we’re bad at cybersecurity. Okay.”
According to Jason Haddix, an expert at the startup Bugcrowd, some companies would test their internal security by handing out the drives to employees to sniff out gullible workers. Because these USB drives are especially prone to malware, Haddix told Buzzfeed that “no one is dumb enough to do this anymore.”
Cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike linked the hack to two Russian groups titled Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear. According to Crowdstrike, Cozy Bear may have been inside the DNC network since mid-2015. By implanting malware on USB devices, the Russian groups could rapidly and easily expand the scope of their targets and information.
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