The FBI believes that foreign hackers possibly sponsored by the Russian government have attempted to hack mobile phones owned by key Democratic Party staffers and elected officials.
Multiple sources from the FBI told CNN that Law enforcement officials have reached out to the staffers individually about imaging their phones to search for evidence of hacking, such as malware. These attempts come after reports over the summer that hackers targeted e-mails associated with the Democratic National Committee and handed them over to activist organization WikiLeaks.
The hackers are believed to be associated with the Russian government in both cases, in addition to hacking attempts made against individual states and their voting records, which could obfuscate the total in key Electoral College states. Cybersecurity officials are concerned that Russia is attempting to interfere with the results of the election through these hacks that target vulnerable cell phones.
If these hacks were successful, then the hackers could uncover key data such as contact lists, e-mails, and call data. And if the hackers are indeed associated with the Russian government, it would represent another page to how the Democratic and the Republican Party have seemingly switched sides over Russia.
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump clashed about Russia’s role in the hacking attempts during the presidential debate on Monday. While Clinton claimed that Russia was behind the DNC hacks over the summer and attacked Vladimir Putin, Trump said that it could be Russia, China, or someone sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds.
Trumps campaign has been criticized for being excessively friendly towards Russia and Putin, while others worry about what they see as Clinton’s needless confrontational attitude towards the nuclear power.
Both presidential candidates also discussed the need to safeguard the United States against cyberwarfare attacks, though they took different approaches. Clinton called cyber security one of the biggest challenges facing the next president, while Trump chose to bring up his 10-year old son who is so good with these computers and talked about the importance of protecting America as well.
The fact that both presidential candidates chose to briefly talk about the issue is a further example of how many Americans are concerned about the damages which both domestic and foreign hackers could inflict.