Biden Campaign Firm Being Targeted by Russian State Hackers: Sources

Recently, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) alarmed one of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firms that it had been targeted by some suspected Russian state-backed hackers, as per three people who briefed on the matter.

The Breach was Defended

The hacking attempts were aimed at staff at Washington-based SKDKnickerbocker, a campaign strategy and communications firm working with Biden and other important Democrats, over the past two months, the sources explained.

A person familiar with the response of SKDK’s to the attempts said the hackers failed to gain access to the firm’s networks. “They are well-defended, so there has been no breach,” the person stated.

SKDK Vice-Chair Hilary Rosen refused to comment. A Biden spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The hacking attempts on SKDK come as the U.S. intelligence agencies have generated alarms about potential efforts by foreign governments to intrude in the presidential election that is going to be held in the coming November.

Investigations by former special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate intelligence committee both came to a conclusion that affiliates of the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and Mueller has alarmed that Russia was interfering in the current campaign also.

A Phishing Attack

One of the sources stated it was not evident whether Biden’s campaign was the target or whether the Russians were trying to have access to information regarding other SKDK clients.

Anita Dunn, managing director at SKDK was a White House communications director during the Barack Obama presidency and serves as a senior advisor for the Biden campaign.

The attempts to intrude SKDK were recently flagged to the campaign firm by Microsoft, which spotted hackers related to the Russian government as the supposed culprits, according to the three sources briefed on the matter.

The attacks consisted of phishing, a hacking method that tries to trick users into disclosing passwords, as well as other efforts to intrude SKDK’s network, according to the three sources said.

SKDK is very closely linked with the Democratic Party, having worked on six presidential campaigns and several congressional races. In addition to its current work for Biden, the firm in 2018 worked on successful governor’s races in Kansas and Connecticut.