Chinese Hackers Brought Federal Election Commission to Stand-Still
Chinese Hackers Brought Federal Election Commission to Stand-Still

Chinese hackers launched an attack against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Oct. 1 during the government shutdown, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity.

The Center interviewed more than 50 staff members, former commissioners, and associates over a period of six months for its report. During the investigation, three government officials told them about the attack. The report states the attack was the largest sabotage the FEC suffered in its 38-year history

“They crashed computer systems that publicly disclose how billions of dollars are raised and spent each election cycle by candidates, parties and political action committees,” it states, noting the attack brought the FEC to a standstill.

A representative from the FEC declined to comment and referred inquiries to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee confirmed the attack. Lee said via email that at the request of the FEC, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) of the DHS is investigating the breach. He said the DHS is working with law enforcement to see if any damage was done, and to help prevent future attacks from happening.

“While the investigation is ongoing and no final determination has been made, at this point, there are no indications that any sensitive information or other personal data was compromised,” Lee said.

In fiscal year 2013, there were more than 228,700 “cyber incidents” against U.S. Federal agencies, critical infrastructure, and industry partners of the DHS, a DHS official told Epoch Times in an email. The attacks averaged more than 620 each day.

Security experts had warned that the government shutdown left the United States vulnerable to cyberattacks. News that the FEC was breached by Chinese hackers during the shutdown only verifies the concerns.

As federal agencies furloughed employees, information technology services were also affected. Security researchers at Trend Micro wrote on Oct. 7 that during the government shutdown “the government’s highly interwoven IT infrastructure could become much more vulnerable to opportunistic attacks.”

“[M]ost of Washington’s cybersecurity assets during the shutdown are being managed by skeleton crews, which may be ill-equipped to deal with the large volume of attacks on the public sector,” Trend Micro warned during the shutdown.

“While the Department of Homeland Security has been able to retain staff trained in cyberattack response, other outfits must wrestle with the prospects of unpredictable agency-by-agency rollbacks,” it stated.

  • Steven G Smith

    This story should be e-mailed to every member of the U.S. Congress responsible for
    the government shutdown, with a copy to the U.S. Department of Justice to
    initiate an investigation into charges of treason.

    • tense641

      Could I suggest Issa or Dan Burton to lead the investigation? :-)

      • Steven G Smith

        Ouch!

        • tense641

          smiles to you, I’m one of those with an old fashioned metal filing cabinet only in my memory that serves me too well sometimes.

          • Robin S Summertown

            I can’t seem to break away from those things. Hubs wants me to save stuff with that Neat thing. Naw, this has worked just fine for me for many, many decades.

          • tense641

            I guess you and I are cut from similar cloth and I like it the way it works!

          • Robin S Summertown

            My computer is for this. Its not for trying to remember what I name file X and hunting forever looking for it. Amex, sure its under well, Amex. First of the year? Sure front of the file. Sometimes the old ways are the better and more efficient ways.

          • tense641

            We agree!

  • Leslie (eserafina42)

    Are they sure it wasn’t the Republicans?

    • Robin S Summertown

      LOL Sad thing is, I can see it. Especially from the extremes.

      • Leslie (eserafina42)

        The only reason I can’t take it seriously is that they don’t have the tech savvy. Yeah, they had a little denial of service script for healthcare.gov, but I’m pretty sure that actually hacking into a government department is WAY beyond their capabilities. Luckily. 😉

        • undsoweiter

          Writing a check isn’t beyond their capabilities.

    • lilblacksambo

      u a ni66er?

  • Classical_Gas

    And we’re looking at another possible shutdown…

    How totally irresponsible.

  • Devey Elise

    But let’s keep the Chinese crap rolling into this country by the ship loads.

  • AskandTell

    Republicans, led by Edwin Meese, spend months conspiring to take down the government; a shutdown that weakens the IT infrastructure and makes the federal election systems vulnerable to cyber attacks.

    Someone explain to me why these conspirators aren’t sitting in a federal prison?

  • undsoweiter

    They “undisclosed” billions of dollars worth of campaign donor information. Does that qualify them as a 501(c)3?

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