Dems flooded with vulgar, suspicious messages following online data dump

House Democratic leaders on Saturday urged members to upgrade their security as staffers were flooded Saturday with vulgar, malicious emails and texts following a massive online dump of their contact information late Friday — the latest fallout of a series of election-season cyberattacks primarily targeting the Democratic Party.Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, calling the incident a "sad course of events," wrote in a note to colleagues that she was changing her phone number and advised colleagues to do the same. An email from the Democratic Caucus told members and staffers whom to contact to do so.“I was in the air flying from Florida to California when the news broke,” Pelosi wrote. “Upon landing, I have received scores of mostly obscene and sick calls, voice mails and text messages.”Other aides told POLITICO that overnight they received dozens, even hundreds of spear phishing-style emails and texts, which are fake messages that lure recipients into clicking on malware-laded links, possibly infecting the entire device.Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico scheduled a conference call for members Saturday evening "with a senior representative from the Sergeant-At-Arms office, and cybersecurity experts who have been investigating and responding to th breach to provide an update and some security guidance to members," Pelosi told her fellow Democrats.The surge of security advisey follows an online data dump from the hacker known as "Guccifer 2.0" of an Excel spreadsheet that contains emails and phone numbers for nearly every Democratic staffer. Guccifer 2.0 — who researchers believe is a front for Russian hackers affiliated with Moscow’s military intelligence agency — said the documents came from the previously revealed digital break-in at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Those same Russian cyber spies have also been blamed for an earlier intrusion at the Democratic National Committee.In a message sent Saturday to House members, the Chief Administrative Officer noted that the leaked DCCC spreadsheet also contains the information of a number of Republicans.The Democratic Caucus guidance email sent today encourages staffers and aides to even change their non-House email address, and come up with new passwords for “sensitive personal accounts such as banking institutions.”One Democratic staffer whose non-government email was revealed in the leak told POLITICO the account was "getting spammed to death" and the aide was forced to deactivate it and change other passwords. "I think a lot of staffers are doing that now," the staffer said. Others are changing cell phone numbers. "We had one staffer who has to and it has been her cell number for a million years," the Democratic aide said. Noted Pelosi: “This incident has been widely reported as part of a Russian cyberattack. As reported, the DCCC has hired a respected cybersecurity technology firm to conduct a full investigation of the breach.”The Chief Administrative Officer said the House’s information technology systems have not been compromised. But, the CAO warned staffers not to click on any leaked Excel spreadsheet containing their information.“Please do not visit any website that may have posted the Excel spreadsheet,” the office wrote. “It may be a source of malware that could compromise the House IT network and your data.”The Democratic Party hacks have unsettled the 2016 race and sparked allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign after the committee’s hackers leaked internal emails showing evidence of favoritism toward Clinton over insurgent presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.But researchers on Friday noted that the suspected DNC and DCCC hackers have also gone after several prominent Republican lawmakers, potentially complicating the narrative that Russia’s motivation is simply to help Trump. “This is a sad course of events, not only for us, but more importantly for our country,” Pelosi said.Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.


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