Election 2016

Report: Russian Hackers Also Hit House Races

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Russian interference in the 2016 election may have gone deeper than any of us realized.

According to the New York Times, Russian-backed hackers also targeted local House races in Florida and other states where Democratic candidates had their internal documents stolen and released to the public.

“It was like I was standing out there naked,” said Annette Taddeo, a Democrat who lost her primary race after secret campaign documents were made public. “I just can’t describe it any other way. Our entire internal strategy plan was made public, and suddenly all this material was out there and could be used against me.”

In addition to Florida, hackers also hit House races in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico and North Carolina according to The Times.

You can count me among those who believe Russian-sponsored hackers also probably obtained information about Republican candidates and officials who almost certainly employ equally if not more vulnerable cyber security practices.

That may be an even bigger concern going forward because they will be in power and I can't help but think any information obtained by the Russians could be used as leverage against despot-elect Donald Trump, his closest allies, and even congressional leaders. And if not as leverage, the information could be released at any time by third parties with a goal of simply embarrassing the Unites States.

There's a very real possibility America will be led by a compromised administration whose every decision could be impacted by foreign intelligence services, and that's before even considering Trump's conflicts of interests in countries where he has substantial financial assets.

It seems more likely than not to me that we'll see if the rumors are true at some point in the coming years.

  • mnpollio

    I read on another site that polls indicate that Republicans are warming to Putin and Russia. No kidding?! Are they really that dumb that if the Russians could sabotage the Democrats in the election that they will not do the same if it is in their interest to the Republicans in the future? Don’t answer that. A rhetorical question – they are that dumb. Also, how dumb do Trump voters have to be to not second guess their vote now when a nation hostile to the US has tampered with the election to help throw it to Trump and Repugs? Do they think the Russians want them in power because of how well they will run the US? Of course, conservatives will scream “Lies! Lies!” Yet if Clinton had won and these stories came out, Repugs would be the first to halt swearing in the new Administration until a thorough investigation could be completed as to their possible collaboration in it (all while getting the noose ready to hang her). But since it is Trump that benefits, they are all like “MEH”.

  • Aynwrong

    There needs to be a reckoning. It’s can’t come soon enough but it won’t be soon. Simply put, the GOP is unpatriotic. They will have no interest in genuinely finding out what happened and deep it runs. The D’s have no choice but to yell & scream and if necessary keep it up for the next two years straight. This has to remain a hot issue. It tops all other priorities. To hell with bipartisanship. The make up of the House & Senate has to shift heavily to the Left. It’s the only way we’ll ever see subpoenas issued and people put under oath. It’s the only way we’ll ever see justice.

    So once again all our hopes are pinned to people getting out and voting and now in a midterm election. People have to vote for Dems. Full stop. Forget third party nonsense.

    Also, Democrats who are just chomping at the bit to work with Trump on infrastructure spending need to be told to stuff it. (Saint Bernie, Joe Manchin & even Elizabeth Warren) Even infrastructure spending isn’t as important as this.

  • Draxiar

    If there is information that comes out that Trump knew all along about the hacking and colluded with Putin I will enjoy watching Trump get tried for treason. I want to see that asshole burn.

    • I second that emotion!

    • ninjaf

      Oooh…take Pence down with him. And Ryan. And…

      (How far down the path of ascension do we have to go to get to a reasonable human being?)

      • Draxiar

        ‘Tis a deep rabbit hole…

  • Jesus, the only Federal branch that the Russians don’t have by the short hairs is the Supreme Court and the GOP, who benefits from all this, are holding that hostage. This is seriously scary. WTF isn’t the goddamn media all over this!!!! It’s the worst thing we’ve faced since the Civil War…screw Watergate.

    • Scopedog

      Because emails.

      That’s all the press glommed onto, with a few honorable exceptions. And then there are those idiots on the far Left who are whining that we should NOT be complaining about Russian interefernce because the US interefered in other elections, likemin Iran in the 1950s.

      Of course, that’s horseshit–two wrongs do not make a right. Then again, these were the blinded idiots who said that they were voting for Stein because Hillary was SOOO corrupt that she would start a war with Russia. The fact that Trump is turning out to be everything they claimed Hillary was hasn’t gotten throuhg their thick skulls yet.

      • Yes, these Stein voters are a pain in the arse. I honestly think some of them are paid provocateurs that we need to just ignore.

    • Aynwrong

      They probably feel the need to show respect to the incoming administration for the sake of seeming objective, which under the circumstances is absurd. The Trump team has done nothing but hurl contempt at every honest attempt at journalism and they deserve nothing but the same in return to the Nth degree. If ever there was a time to hit the panic button it’s exactly right now.

      Also, the Right has already co-opted the term “fake news” and professional shit eater Hannity is already claiming that Russian hacking is “fake news.” And we all know our vaunted media is terrified of bias accusations.

    • ninjaf

      I am guessing the only reason the Supreme Court has not been compromised is because most of the justices probably do not use a computer for much, if anything.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    Republican candidates and officials who almost certainly employ equally if not more vulnerable cyber security practices.

    Chief Technology Officer, here. Let’s talk cyber security 101.

    Bar none, the biggest vulnerability in any cyber security framework is the human element. Hackers get into your system not by “cracking the encryption key via the BIOS backdoor,” or some other Hollywood nonsense. They trick you into giving them your password via fake websites and phishing, or they guess it because you’re stupid enough to use “Password1,” or like Palin, they use recover password and answer the questions based on your wikipedia page. Because most people use the same password for everything, these hackers will sometimes set up services which require a free account (with password) – then they have your password and can use it for other stuff. That’s why it’s such a problem when sites like LinkedIn get hacked – it’s not really important that LinkedIn is susceptible (what are the hackers going to do? Change your job title?), but when they have your email address and your password, and you use that some one for your mail server….

    Cyber security is largely a myth. If you employ more than, say, 20 people, some proportion of them are going to slip up. If you are being targeted, there is no safety short of totally locking your system down (eg, no remote access, physical access controls, disabled USB ports, etc). I actually recommend Mr. Robot as both a fantastic show and one of the most realistic representations of hacking I have ever seen on TV/movies (I also recommend Hackers, but for entirely different reasons).

    So there’s really no point in asking whether the Republicans were or were not more secure. They weren’t secure and neither were the Democrats. Because, realistically speaking, there is no “secure.” So the only questions left are: Did they choose to also hack the Red Shirts (I don’t see why they wouldn’t have), what did they find, and why didn’t they release any of that data?

    • I wish I could upvote this a 1,000 times. As a web programmer with almost over 17 years experience, I second everything the Dread Pirate said here. Plus, there needs to be complete and full disclosure of what was found so that no blackmail is possible. Expose all the crap to the light and take away Russia’s advantage.

    • ninjaf

      Awww…all the techie warm fuzzies (I am also a web dev with a spouse in MIS)!

      OK…that’s enough emotion. I feel icky now. 🙂

  • muselet

    And Paul Ryan’s super PAC deliberately and knowingly made use of the stolen information after being briefed by US intelligence agencies on the Russian hacking. The next person who claims Ryan has principles is going to get an earful.

    As for the rumors, I could add a few salacious (and totally made-up) details—a 2-meter tall Russian domme called Ludmilla, for example, with a … erm … unique way of disciplining disobedient subs—but I shall forbear. There’s not enough brain bleach in the world.

    –alopecia

    • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

      The next person who claims Ryan has principles is going to get an earful.

      Ryan is one of the most principled people I have ever heard of.

      It’s just that his only principles are to serve the best interest of Paul Ryan.

      • muselet

        Point taken.

        –alopecia

      • Badgerite

        If you have to lie to accomplish a legislative goal, just maybe there is something wrong with the ‘legislative goal’.
        The legislation from FDR’s New Deal has always been and remains some of the most popular legislation on the books. EVER.
        Trying to pretend they are not trying to end it when that has been their goal for decades now is…..LYING. And lying to the very people who rely on it and trusted them this election. Ryan is a scumbag. His mother and he himself needed Social Security during their lives and it seemed to work out well for them. Now he would deny it to others.
        What ffffing church does he go to anyway. The Church of the Perpetually Corrupt and Cynical?

  • In other words, we’re boned.