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Obama, McCain Campaigns Both Hacked, Files Compromised 255

dunezone writes "As the election ends, news is coming out from both campaigns on what happened behind closed doors. During the summer, the Obama campaign had their systems hacked, but so did McCain — and not by each other, but by a third party. '... both the FBI and the Secret Service came to the campaign with an ominous warning: "You have a problem way bigger than what you understand," an agent told Obama's team. "You have been compromised, and a serious amount of files have been loaded off your system." The following day, Obama campaign chief David Plouffe heard from White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, to the same effect: "You have a real problem ... and you have to deal with it." The Feds told Obama's aides in late August that the McCain campaign's computer system had been similarly compromised.'" Also from the article: "Officials at the FBI and the White House told the Obama campaign that they believed a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps' policy positions — information that might be useful in negotiations with a future administration."
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Obama, McCain Campaigns Both Hacked, Files Compromised

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  • by jaxtherat ( 1165473 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @06:21PM (#25651469) Homepage

    I guess we'll find out soon enough.

  • and does this "foreign entity or organization" hang out on 4chan?

  • Officials at the FBI and the White House told the Obama campaign that they believed a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps' policy positions

    Is that all they're after? Pff. The Internet Archive [] already lets me do that. And if that's too much work, the candidates have already done the graphical diffs [] for us!

    /tongue in cheek

    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul ( 629286 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:06PM (#25652567) Journal
      No, not the fake ones they publish. The secret ones they don't publish. The plans for world domination. The ones containing the election script written two years ago by the Illuminati's dictator for life: Ron Paul.
    • by illumin8 ( 148082 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:36PM (#25653139) Journal

      Did anyone read the rest of the article? I find it hilarious that Caribou Barbie went on an even bigger shopping spree than previously reported:

      NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family--clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

      Wait, it gets better:

      According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

      I am so glad we won't be hearing from her at least until 2012 or so... Corruption in Alaska? You betcha!

      • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @08:40PM (#25654075) Homepage Journal

        > Corruption in Alaska? You betcha!

        According to my brother, even with such corruptions as she's shown, Sarah Palin is a breath of fresh air compared to politics as usual in Alaska.

        And he is by no means a Sarah Palin fan, quite the opposite.

        • by TheLink ( 130905 )
          So if she moved to DC, she'd have lowered the average of both places? :)

          Maybe DC is just more discreet.

          I'm not a US citizen, but the thought of Palin just a heart attack away from having the nuclear football was a bit worrying.

          The fact that Bush managed to get reelected didn't help.

          Paris Hilton for president would probably be much better than Sarah Palin. ;).
      • So we should skate out of Palin then too, by being sold into intergalactic bondage. Score!
      • by jamienk ( 62492 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @10:19PM (#25655267)

        >>I am so glad we won't be hearing from her at least until 2012 or so...

        Ted Stevens gets re-elected; then he resigns (or is kicked out of the Senate by 2/3rds); then there will be a special election in Alaska for Senate and Palin will most likely win. She plans this already. When she found out about Stevens she said (paraphrase) "He should leave the Senate. Even if he is re-elected, he should then resign." So we will most likely see her in the Senate for the next 4 years or so. The question is: will she be like Liddy Dole who people thought was an up-and-comer but who turned out to be a drag, or like Hillary who was a massively divisive figure but who used the Senate to grow to become liked by a broad spectrum of people.

        • Ted Stevens gets re-elected

          I know they're still counting absentees, but it looks like this is coming to pass. I've never been to alaska so I admit I don't understand, but how the hell did he convince voters of anything at this point? "The Internet is a series of tubes, and I've been convicted of a series of felonies... vote for me, while I'm still alive!"

      • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) * on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:45PM (#25656087)

        Her proper nickname is "Bible Spice".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @06:26PM (#25651605)

    they believed a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps' policy positions--information that might be useful in negotiations with a future administration."

    "they believed a foreign entity or organization sought to gather information on the evolution of both camps' policy positions--information that would be entirely useless once the winner back pedals on all campaign promises made."

    Fixed that for them.

    • Why would they have anything sitting on or connected to a public network that they didn't want someone to find?
    • Or both machines could've been honey pots that just had a bunch of files named [x]InvasionPlan.doc where x = [Russian, Chinese, Korean, Iranian, French, Canadian] Just to scare the shit out of anyone who thinks that either candidate is going to start getting chummy with foreign powers.
      • WTF kind of honeypot is that?? Lets strain foreign relations needlessly so that maybe they'll bomb the shit out of us. Then we can be like HAHA! gotcha.

    • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:24PM (#25652937)
      Nonsense. The information is valuable for other reasons. It gives a third party information on who the candidate keeps around them and hints about how the candidate and his advisors think. Among other things, that'll help in future negotiations with the administration. And it'll provide avenues for social engineering. They may have obtained vetting information. And further will have some idea who to target for various espionage operations, say if someone wishes to blackmail or bribe.
    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      Yeah, they will know who was being appeased by the false promises, and thereby know what the real policies will be.

  • Remember kids, always have some photos of you and Chuthulu parktaking in ancient, evil rites so the perpetrator knows exactly what their "reward" will be.
  • by xactuary ( 746078 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @06:35PM (#25651811)
    Proof that Fox News REALLY IS fair and balanced!
  • What effect will this had on the election, if someone will invented time travel? (Note my use of the appropriate grammatical tense for speaking of time travel.)

  • What I really hope is that the President-Elect was made fully aware of the situation by his staff and the authorities. Hopefully, this knowledge would inspire him to seriously consider the potential danger to our country in the area of network security. Of course we never hear stories of what we do to foreign countries, but I have definitely heard too many stories of what other countries do to us to be of a sound mind in regards to the integrity of our nations information infrastructure.
  • Third party (Score:5, Funny)

    by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @06:44PM (#25651993) Homepage Journal

    During the summer the Obama campaign had their systems hacked, but so did McCain - and not by each other but a third party.

    Bob Barr or Cynthia McKinney?

  • by mattytee ( 1395955 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @06:46PM (#25652037)
    ...Carly Fiorina worked on McCain's campaign.
  • by DigitalisAkujin ( 846133 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @06:48PM (#25652079) Homepage

    I particularly love this insight:
    The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, "I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me ⦠answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."

    Could you have imagined Obama saying that during the election? heh

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:11PM (#25652657)

      > Could you have imagined Obama saying that during the election?

      No... but he just went up in my estimation having read that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 )

        > > Could you have imagined Obama saying that during the election?
        > No... but he just went up in my estimation having read that.

        As he did in mine. On the other hand, I hope he does realize that, although him changing light bulbs does not _solve_ the problem, it does _help_. And it's things that help that will eventually solve the problem. There's no magic bullet that is going to completely solve everything all at once. We solve the problem by doing the little things that bring us closer to the solu

    • by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:14PM (#25652723)

      I wouldn't mind a pragmatic president. Perhaps that's because I'm a pragmatic guy...

      I have a lot of respect for somebody like Joe Biden that says whatever he thinks, because we get a much better insight into he really is.

      And that quote is fucking amazing. He said essentially that a couple times, but slightly cleaned up, for what it's worth.

    • by Artuir ( 1226648 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:34PM (#25653123)

      To be frank, I wish he would have said that during the election. The man is smart.

      The thing that irritates me the most about this election is we've got so many political parrots out there that just repeat misquotes like idiots. It's amazing how ignorant the country is and how little research is actually done for people to make a decision this important. What a dangerous position to be in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AxemRed ( 755470 )
      I didn't vote for either McCain or Obama. However, if Obama would have said that, I would have voted for him.
    • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @08:34PM (#25654015) Journal

      Obama seems to have somehow slipped through the vetting process. It's common knowledge that politicians should not have an independently functioning brain with an ability to grasp the overall picture. Did no one interview this guy to make sure he could be swayed by a $600/hr lobbiest in an expensive suit, or by advisers with hidden agendas? This, my fellow Americans, can lead to no good outcomes. Applying common sense and logic in this fashion will surely grind Washington D.C. to a halt.

      Mark my words...this fool will be making decisions which will utterly confound both major parties. The only thing I can't determine is whether they'll strip his flesh like a school of piranhas or end up following him off the cliff of common sense. :-)

  • Nothing to see here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @06:49PM (#25652113)
    I volunteered to work on a Senate campaign. I was shocked to learn their headquarters was using an open wireless access point, but handing out WEP keys to hundreds of volunteers bringing their own laptops would have been unmanagable. Plus, you wouldn't even need to hack the network from the outside -- literally anyone can volunteer and gain access to their servers. Most of the data is just donor and supporter lists anyway; it's not like it does a candidate any good to keep their platform a secret! Since thousands of unvetted volunteers had access to the candidate's networks, I certainly hope they used a rule that no data should be placed on the campaign servers that you wouldn't want to see leaked to the newspapers the next day anyway. And everybody already knows if you're going to do something that is possibly unethical or unlawful, you NEVER mention it in email! I very much doubt you could find any information on McCain's or Obama's campaign computers that would be useful to anyone after the election.
    • I live in Philadelphia and there is an Obama office literally 2 doors down from me. I found them running a 802.11G open wifi for about a week before they closed it. Was a decent T1 connection. It's still up, SID: "Campaign for Change", WPA encrypted.

      Now as far as security within their campaign I don't think it's too much of an issue because they literally built a social network for the campaign which has many hundreds of thousands of machines that somehow access the campaign infrastructure in some way or an

      • by worthawholebean ( 1204708 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @08:46PM (#25654145)
        Having worked on the Obama campaign, mostly with the data end, I have to say they did a really good job. There are a few things that could have been improved, sure, but overall the system scaled very well until the last few days when the load became just ridiculous. Even then, it only displayed minor misbehavior - it worked just as quickly as before. The vast majority of volunteers have read/limited write access to volunteer and voter lists. I don't believe I had access to any donor information. The fact is, below the upper echelons, a data leak is really, really insignificant, because the data is essentially publicly available anyway. We got all the starting information for our database from the DNC, which got it from voter rolls. I'm assuming here they don't store credit card numbers from donations, etc.
        • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @11:25PM (#25655883)
          Credit card numbers were handled very carefully; a paid staffer processed the donation first, then very carefully obscured the numbers with a black marker before handing off the form to data entry. We did have access to name, address, and amount donated information for all supporters, but like you said, that is a matter of public record -- we had the same information for the competitor's donors (and yes, several people donated to both candidates). There is a huge amount of data there (e.g. the voter registration data of everyone in the state), but other than getting a press release a few hours before it's made public, I really don't think any of the information is particularly valuable to anyone else.
    • In Virginia, the voter data was stored on a server (provided by the Democratic party of VA) in a datacenter, with a web front end. Worked okay for the most part, but cratered at the end from a massive load.

      The wireless was WPA on Cisco APs, and there were no local servers in any of the VA offices. Used a fair number of Ubuntu boxen with X terminals attached - generally 6 or 8 Xterms on a private LAN attached to a mid-range desktop machine.

      A fair number of machines loaned to the campaign, as well - Ma

  • Why do these campaigns matter anymore?

  • by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:01PM (#25652419)

    When posed the question of how one might respond to cyberattacks on their own websites, the following responses were gathered:

    McCain: My friends, I've been around the block a few times. I know what it's like to be hacked. I know what it's like to be crippled, to be seized by foreign powers and pried for information. My friends, I've been there, not 30 years ago I was......Internet? What's that now? Oh, like the tubes...

    Obama: There is no classified data on those servers. There never was. I will not hide information from the people of America. I will not hide my concerns from foreign powers. We are a nation built on freedom and that includes freedom of information. If they want to know our bathroom schedules, we will let them know. Yes we can. If they want to know where I park my car in the afternoon, I will tell them. Yes we can. If they want to know the route my daughter takes to school...

    Palin: Dog gone it, how am I going to know when my next hair appointment is? Oh, it's still there? But you said they stole it. Could we go back to the part just after, "You're my vice presidential choice"? I've been a little confused since then.

    Stevens: You ask me if they'll get away with this? I'll tell you. "NO!!"

    Bush: Thank Christ the Lord I am done with this job. Next question...

  • So? (Score:3, Funny)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:09PM (#25652631) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, what information do they have?
    National secrets? Launch codes? Pictures of Britney's crotch?

    Yeah, advise them to lock down their system, but for crying out loud, stop acting like every computer breach and tress[pass is the end of the civilized world.

  • er.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:13PM (#25652701)

    Why would a guy who is just learning to get online, himself, care ?

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:16PM (#25652771)

    It's a good thing McCain doesn't know how to use a computer!

  • I am not much for the whole conspiracy theory BS, but if I really wanted to, underhandedly, get more funding for my department/organization it would make sense to approach the likely candidates and tell them they have a problem. Then when either candidate comes into power it would be much easier to say: "we need more funding for 'cyber-defence' to protect the country from attacks. Attacks like you fell victim to not to long ago, remember?"

    On a side note, I hate the word cyber in this context.

  • by stevegee58 ( 1179505 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:24PM (#25652943) Journal
    95% of the unauthorized http accesses and port scans to my PC at home are from China. Go figure.
    • Been the same for me for at least 3-4 years now. Maybe more like 99%

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by caluml ( 551744 )

      95% of the unauthorized http accesses

      Do you have a system for requesting authorisation for http accesses to your system? tcp/80 open to the world? Sounds authorised to me.

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:44PM (#25653261)

    This wouldn't be a problem if our political system did not practically require politicians to keep secrets and lie through their teeth.

  • While "The One" was blasting NAFTA to gain support, he sought to secretly reassure Canadian government [], that he has no plans to change the agreement.

    His campaign position's on coal [] kept changing faster, than any hacker could download...

    The lowest income, on which the taxes will be increased [].

    Fortunately, Joe Biden's foreign policy statements like []:

    When we kicked -- along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, "Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you d

    • Sigh! Incorrect (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jbeach ( 852844 ) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @09:42PM (#25654865) Homepage Journal
      Now that Obama's elected, I really do want to move on. But I am still compelled to correct misinformation about his positions.

      So, I'll refrained from criticizing any conservative or GOP positions, and simply deal with what's incorrect.

      1. NAFTA - that story you link to is incorrect. A couple of days after the article you cite, both the Obama campaign and - more importantly - the Canadian embassy itself declared that no such assurances were made. So either they're all lying, or the first article that you cite got it wrong. []

      2. Obama's position on coal is: We will probably need some coal as a transition away from foreign oil. But coal also comes with environmental risks, so clean coal is better than dirty coal.

      That's not shifting, that's reasonable. Sometimes reality is nuanced. That's addressing different circumstances in a complex world.

      3. There was and is absolutely no change in Obama's tax plans, or anywhere near it. That link you cite is not even from Obama speaking. That's Biden making a gaffe-tastic misstatement in a speech. The Obama campaign restated it's policy after Biden's misstatement - it says that in the very same article you cite.

      4. As for Biden's transcribed dialogue - it seems quite clear to me. It's just transcribed from live human speech. Biden's saying "When the US and France kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, Barack and I wanted NATO forces moved in to fill the vacuum. Otherwise Hezbollah would walk back in."

      So, in conclusion, I'd like to propose that, from this point forward, we criticize what people's actual articulated positions are, and see how their actions match up to those positions. Because, as an Obama supporter, I *want* to see Obama's positions and policies criticized from every possible angle. Both in formulation and in practice.

      But let's stick with what Obama and others are actually intentionally saying (and will now be doing) - and not hearsay or misstatements. Let's concentrate on whether or not it will work, and why.

      Sound good?

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        So either they're all lying [...]

        Why, yes, they probably are. Obama — to "spin-down" the consequences of the leak, Canadians, having received their assurances — not to rock the boat.

        Obama's position on coal is ... That's not shifting, that's reasonable.

        I didn't say "Obama's" — I said, Obama's campaign's. Biden is on record talking against coal, and Obama himself talked in January (when he needed to appeal to the Left, rather than the whole country), how he'll bankrupt the coal industry. Yo

  • ...for those wiley Chinese.

  • If you can't beat 'em, hack 'em.

  • What makes anyone think it is an overseas job?

    Maybe it is just the current administration putting all our well-spent dollars to work in the pursuit of information about what Obama/McCain might do in regards to Bush and Sons Liquidators, LLC.

    I'm sure Kennedy/s experienced the same sort of probing.

    Or maybe it isn't all that sinister. Maybe the two campaigns simply paid 3rd parties to hack each other. That sits much better with me.

    • Probably after the dream cabinet choices.
      My choices for cabinet would be:
      1) Chuck Hagel: Defense
      2) Ron Paul(R): Treasury (!!!)
      3) Clinton: Spl. Envoy to Pakistan
      4) Ralph nader: OSHA chief
      5) Spitzer(yes): SEC chief
      6) Schwarzenegger: State

      That's all i can remember...

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs