The Clinton campaign has said that Russia may be behind a leak of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails.
Wikileaks, the whistleblower website, published 19,000 internal emails late last week, principally from seven party officials, brewing up a storm of controversy only days before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Robby Mook, the head of Clinton's campaign told ABC news "experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, took all these emails and now are leaking them out through these Web sites.”
The leaked emails exposed the DNC as heavily favouring, and even attempting to manipulate the contest in favour of, Hillary Clinton against her rival for the democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders. Wikileaks did not disclose how it acquired the emails, but says there will be more releases.
The head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has resigned over the embarrassing disclosure.
The leak will play into the hands of Donald Trump, recently crowned as the Republican Party's nominee for president after last week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Mook continued: “It's troubling that some experts are now telling us this was done by the Russias for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.” While the Trump campaign dismissed the idea, much has been made of Trump's supposed admiration for Vladimir Putin and their shared contempt for Hillary Clinton. For the conspiracy theorists, The Guardian newspaper reports that the head of Trump's campaign, Paul Manafort, was formerly paid by pro-Kremlin Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, while others draw attention to Trump's statement that NATO shouldn't necessarily intervene to defend our Eastern European allies... , as reasons why Russia might favour Trump.
Despite his campaign Donald Trump seemed quite happy to receive this gift from his mysterious admirers. He quickly took to his own often incendiary Twitter page to say….
Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2016
While the initial hack was announced nearly two months ago, only figures outside of the US government have commented on who might be behind it. Those accusations seem to be heading closer to the white house as the Clinton campaign joined the fray to point the finger towards Russia.
Russia is consistently suspected as the source of much of the world's cybercrime and the Russian state is blamed just as much for waging cyber-warfare on its geopolitical enemies.
After the Turkish government downed a Russian jet late last year, relations between the countries have chilled considerably. In that interval, Turkey became the most DDoSed country in the world, receiving 30,000 attacks a day and eclipsing even the United States. Once again, Russia was widely suspected.
Russian officials are understandably angry when such accusations arehurled their way. Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, flatly denied the accusation that the Russian state had a hand in the hack. "I completely rule out a possibility that the (Russian) government or the government bodies have been involved in this” Peskov told Reuters.
When it is said ‘Russia did it', it's rarely clear who's being accused. What is known is that Russian metadata was found on the emails published through Wikileaks. It was Guccifer 2.0, a hacker with suspected ties to Russia, who claimed responsibility for the hack.
CrowdStrike, which was called in by the DNC after the initial hack gave the credit to two of the most prolific and successful APT groups around, Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear. Both groups have claimed their fair share of scalps, including that of various pieces of critical infrastructure and high-security government departments.
At the time of the breach, of which the first disclosure was an opposition dossier on Donald Trump, Grayson Milbourne, security intelligent director at Webroot told SCMagazine UK.com: “This was a major compromise, and more concerning is that the DNC and other US government groups know they are in the crosshairs of cyber-espionage. The confirmation that Russia was behind both attacks is not surprising. However, there could have been much worse outcomes from a breach by hackers, or by the political opposition”.