You are here: Home » International » News » Politics
Business Standard

Russian state hackers suspected in targeting Biden campaign firm: Report

The hacking attempts targeted staff at Washington-based SKDKnickerbocker, a campaign strategy and communications firm working with Biden and other prominent Democrats

Topics
Joe Biden | US Presidential elections 2020 | Donald Trump

Joel Schectman Raphael Satter Christopher Bing & Joseph Menn | Reuters  |  Washington 

joe biden
The hacking attempts on SKDK come as US intelligence agencies have raised alarms about possible efforts by foreign governments to interfere in the November presidential election

Microsoft recently alerted one of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firms that it had been targeted by suspected Russian state-backed hackers, according to three people briefed on the matter.

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

A person familiar with SKDK’s response 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 said. SKDK Vice Chair Hilary Rosen declined to comment. A Biden spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the allegations as “nonsense”. Moscow has repeatedly denied using hacking to interfere in other countries’ elections.

The hacking attempts on SKDK come as US intelligence agencies have raised alarms about possible efforts by foreign governments to interfere in the November presidential election.

Investigations by former special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate intelligence committee both concluded that affiliates of the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and Mueller has warned that was meddling in the current campaign.

One of the sources said it was not clear whether Biden’s campaign was the target or whether the hackers were attempting to gain access to information about other SKDK clients.

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

The attempts to infiltrate SKDK were recently flagged to the campaign firm by Microsoft, which identified hackers tied to the Russian government as the likely culprits, according to the three sources briefed on the matter.

The attacks included phishing, a hacking method which seeks to trick users into disclosing passwords, as well as other efforts to infiltrate SKDK’s network, the three sources said.

A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

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

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, September 11 2020. 01:01 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
.