Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

Summary: Newsweek is reporting that the computer systems of the campaigns of both Barack Obama and John McCain were compromised in a "sophisticated cyberattack" by an unknown "foreign entity."At Obama headquarters, what was originally believed to be a virus planted in a phishing attack turned out to something more ominous.

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Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by ‘foreign entity’Newsweek is reporting that the computer systems of the campaigns of both Barack Obama and John McCain were compromised in a "sophisticated cyberattack" by an unknown "foreign entity."

At Obama headquarters, what was originally believed to be a virus planted in a phishing attack turned out to something more ominous.  After an investigation, the FBI and Secret Service issued a dire warning:

  • You have a problem way bigger than what you understand," an agent told Obama's team. "You have been compromised, and a serious amount of files have been loaded off your system."

[ SEE: Obama looking for help thwarting Web site hackers ] Newsweek reported that the FBI said the McCain campaign's computer system had been similarly compromised.

  • Officials at the FBI and the White House told the Obama campaign that they believed a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps' policy positions—information that might be useful in negotiations with a future administration. The Feds assured the Obama team that it had not been hacked by its political opponents.

The FBI declined to comment for the Newsweek story.

Topics: Government US, Government

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21 comments
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  • back to microfilm and locked filing cabinets

    Problems like this clearly demonstrate why computers are not good tools for groups to use for composing private written materials. Its a lot harder to download a type writer or sneak someone into a room with a hidden camera and a lock picking set. One can easily use pigeons to fairy messages between cities. It works way better than email and pigeons make nice pets. I hear they are also tasty. Let computers crunch numbers. I'm heading the store right now to buy a typewriter.
    Kungfoofighterx
    • If we're gonna use pigeons to "fairy" messages...

      ...why don't we just exclude the middleman...i.e. the pigeons, and use the "fairies" to ferry the messages instead?

      ;-)
      Mark-Twain
      • Discrimination against faeries, perhaps?

        NT
        isulzer
    • OR you could just..

      Unplug the ethernet cable from your the computer
      storing your uber secret information.

      Best firewall ever.


      P.S. I know that you're just kidding, but I felt like
      I should completely demolish any chance of someone
      else possibly taking what you said seriously, just to
      be the on safe side. ^^
      AzuMao
      • Wasn't serious?

        Gah! Now I have to run all the way back to purchasing to cancel the purchase orders that he's typing up for those pigeons! In the past I could have called him, but people can record those conversations...
        s_southern
        • 2 cans and a length of string

          a secure network ?..
          GASGTO73@...
  • RE: Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

    i think we need to go back to horse and buggy with a
    military escort.
    monkys1966
  • RE: Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

    [b]Where's the beef?[/b] (thanks, Clara!)

    This article is like saying "Somebody did something today. We can't get anyone to comment in time for publication."
    Timpraetor
  • RE: Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

    Tacocat is a palindrome.
    tabrahamson
  • RE: Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

    Design and build a dedicated file server for delicate files, encrypt it as best as it can be done and supply a single password. No back doors, no work-arounds, no booting from a floppy or CD and all the things we know to do in case we forget the password. Make it secure. Forgot the password? Well knucklehead, you want it secured or not?
    jeffmski@...
    • good idea

      I agree. Make a good file server. No backdoors. No password reset CDs. No strange open ports. But then ... how is the Big Brother going to sneak into terrorist's computer if it is so perfectly secured ? So I guess we'll have to live with hacks and cracks for the near future.
      dcdavy
    • Simple truths

      No system can be "secure"
      All locks have keys
      All keys can be recreated

      The level of security in a system is simply a function of how much time it takes to recreate the key.
      RationalGuy
  • re: hacked by 'foreign entity'

    look to the ruskies..................
    bgonetoo
    • Re: look to the ruskies..................

      If it happened it could be nearly anyone from someone in the US Spooks to Tuava.

      TBH, while ever there's a fighting chance that the US GOV continues to behave like a demented child on the world stage, it could be anybody who has enough intelligence to be scared.
      rodonn
  • you mean hacked by an ally?

    No one will comment if the hacking was from a foreign ip address, known foreign agents, or, if agents know but won't say who did the hacking.
    longyhoo
    • If they have located an IP

      then it was by someone who was reasonably incompetent. So that places in Script Kid or Govt realms.
      rodonn
  • RE: Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

    When the FBI says "loaded off", it should be made
    clear that they don't mean "erased", they mean
    "downloaded", as in "copies made onto the cracker's
    computer".

    Also, do they mean the public websites for both
    campaigns (where sensitive document have no
    business being), or other systems unrelated to their
    public campaign websites?
    John Sawyer
  • RE: Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

    Do not use no Microsoft products if you need some security.
    StasD
  • RE: Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

    In the realm of risk, unmanaged possibilities become probabilities: These data breaches and thefts are due to a lagging business culture. As CIO, I'm always looking for ways to help my team, business teams, and ad hoc measures of various vendors, contractors and internal team members. A book that is required reading is "I.T. WARS: Managing the Business-Technology Weave in the New Millennium."
    We keep a few copies kicking around - it would be a bit much to expect outside agencies to purchase it on our say-so. But, particularly when entertaining bids for projects and in the face of challenging change, we ask potential solutions partners to review relevant parts of the book, and it ensures that these agencies understand our values and practices.
    The author, David Scott, has an interview here that is a great exposure: http://businessforum.com/DScott_02.html
    The book came to us as a tip from one of our interns who attended a course at University of Wisconsin, where the book is in use. It has helped us to understand that, while various systems of security are important, no system can overcome laxity, ignorance, or deliberate intent to harm. The real crux of the matter is education and training to the organization as a whole ??? and a recurring schedule of training ??? in building a sustained culture and awareness; an efficient prism through which every activity is viewed from a security perspective prior to action.
    I like to pass along things that work, in the hope that good ideas continue to make their way to me.
    johnfranks999
  • RE: Newsweek: Obama, McCain campaigns hacked by 'foreign entity'

    So Bush/Cheney et al are now referred to as 'Foreign Entity'?
    ZenWarp