Vulnerable Dem's Aide Told to Change Password in Ruse

Sen. Claire McCaskill confirms Russian hacking attempt against her
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2018 6:18 AM CDT
Report: Russians Tried, Failed to Hack Vulnerable Democrat
In this June 20, 2018, file photo, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., asks a question during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

It's a dubious honor: The Daily Beast reports that Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is the first known target of Russian meddling in advance of the 2018 elections, though its report says the GRU intelligence agency behind the attack isn't believed to have gotten very far. The Daily Beast, which cites its own forensic analysis in its report, says the hackers employed a long-running password ruse around August 2017, in which various senatorial targets were sent emails claiming their Microsoft Exchange password had expired. Changing it required clicking on a link that brought users to a page that mirrored that of the US Senate's Active Directory Federation Services. Microsoft was able to seize control of the site and said that its review of the metadata indicated three lawmakers who are up for re-election in November were targeted.

The company didn't name names, but the Beast reports it viewed data that indicated a McCaskill policy aide had been targeted. McCaskill addressed the attempt in general terms, saying in a statement that "while this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. ... I've said it before and I will say it again, Putin is a thug and a bully." McCaskill has spoken out against Putin on many occasions; she's also considered a highly vulnerable Senate Democrat, as Donald Trump won her state with a nearly 20-point margin. NPR stacks this report against President Trump's assertion on Tuesday that any Russian meddling would be for the benefit of Democrats. (More Russian hackers stories.)

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