Hackers again target Democratic National Committee

They hoped to grab passwords using a fake login page for the DNC's voter database, says a security company.


The hacking attempt relied on a bogus login page for VoteBuilder, which hosts the DNC's voter database.

Screenshot by Alfred Ng/CNET

Hackers have again taken aim at the Democratic National Committee.

A scheme discovered and shut down Tuesday involved trying to steal usernames and passwords of Democratic Party officials by way of a fake login page for VoteBuilder, the service that hosts the DNC's voter database.

During the 2016 US presidential election, Russian hackers infiltrated the DNC using a similar "spear phishing" method, according to indictments filed in July against 12 Russian agents. Cyberattacks against the US electoral process have only ramped up since. On Monday, Microsoft said it foiled similar phishing schemes targeting conservative groups.

The DNC learned about the new attack Tuesday morning, after security researchers from Lookout, a mobile cybersecurity company, alerted the organization. It's still too early to tell who's behind the hack.

Lookout's "Phishing AI," artificial intelligence that automatically picks up on these attack campaigns, first discovered the attempt and reported it to DigitalOcean, a cloud provider, early Tuesday. The spoof page was almost impossible to distinguish from the original and had been taken down within hours, Lookout said in a statement.

"We see no evidence that any sensitive data was stolen, and our initial investigation indicates that we were able to address this threat prior to the attack being launched," DigitalOcean's chief security officer, Josh Feinblum, said in a statement. "We are continuing to partner with the DNC and appropriate law enforcement agencies on this issue."

The DNC contacted the FBI after learning about the hacking attempt. The FBI declined to comment. Neither the DNC nor NGP VAN, the organization that owns VoteBuilder, responded to a request for comment.

Tech companies, along with US agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, have increased efforts to protect elections against cyberattacks, which are now coming from nations like China and Iran as well, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday.

CNN reported the attempted hack earlier Wednesday.

This article was originally published on CNET.