Report: North Koreans Attempted To Hack Clinton Campaign Emails

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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North Korean hackers attempted to infiltrate the Hillary Clinton campaign’s email systems, according to a report circulated within the campaign last year.

That’s according to an interesting report published by CyberScoop, a cybersecurity website.

According to CyberScoop, North Korea’s Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB) attempted to break into Clinton campaign systems by targeting a group of outside advisers working on East Asia policy for the campaign.

Using an attack method known as spearphishing, which attempts to wrangle users’ passwords, the hackers were able to infiltrate the email accounts of outside Clinton campaign advisers who work for an unnamed Washington, D.C. think tank.

The goal of the hacking campaign was to obtain policy papers regarding the campaign’s stances towards North Korea, CyberScoop reports.

The hackers did not breach the Clinton campaign’s computers or email accounts, according to the internal report, which was obtained by CyberScoop. But cyber experts working for the campaign did find that hackers created a spoof email account using a email address to contact the advisers who were hacked.

The timing of the report is likely to raise questions about the Clinton campaign’s internal security measures.

The report was circulated in Feb. 2016, about a month before Russian hackers compromised the Gmail account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

CyberScoop notes that RGB’s spearphishing method is similar to the one used to break into Podesta’s Gmail account. Podesta’s account was compromised on March 19, 2016, after he unwittingly shared his password with a hacker.

Despite the similarities in the spearphishing attempts, CyberScoop reports that there is no evidence that the two attacks were related. It is also still believed that the Russians, rather than the North Koreans, hacked Podesta’s account.

Podesta’s emails were released to the public through WikiLeaks beginning in October. The CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency have all said that WikiLeaks was operating as a cut-out for the Russian government. (RELATED: One Year Later, Journalists Exposed By WikiLeaks Carry On As Before)

The report appears to back up some of President Trump’s statements about foreign governments’ meddling in the presidential campaign.

Trump has reluctantly accepted the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was behind cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign.

But last month, he said that he believed other nation states were also involved in hacking attempts.

“I think it very well could be Russia but I think it could very well have been other countries,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Poland’s president.

“I think it was Russia but I think it was probably other people and or countries. I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure,” he added.

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