February 1, 2023

Trump campaign website is defaced by hackers

It lasted less than 30 minutes, but the incident came as both campaigns, as well as law enforcement and intelligence agencies, have been on high alert for digital interference before next week’s election.

US President Donald Trump’s official campaign website was briefly taken over by hackers who defaced the site late on Tuesday. This comes just as US law enforcement authorities and intelligence agencies have been on high alert for foreign interference ahead of polling day on November 3.

In a message that appeared on the website for around 30 minutes, the hackers claimed to have compromised multiple devices that gave them “full access to Trump and relatives”, CNN reported. They alleged that they had obtained evidence that “completely discredits” Trump and proves his administration’s links to the “origin of the coronavirus”. They further accused the administration of cooperating with “foreign actors manipulating the 2020 elections”.

The hackers shared Monero addresses to collect cryptocurrency under two headers — one that read “yes, share the data,” and the other that read, “No, do not share the data”. Monero cryptocurrency transactions are easy to send but difficult to track, making them a favourite among online scammers.

In a statement issued soon after the incident, Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh clarified that no data had been stolen, CBS News reported. “Earlier this evening, the Trump campaign website was defaced and we are working with law enforcement authorities to investigate the source of the attack. There was no exposure to sensitive data because none of it is actually stored on the site. The website has been restored,” his statement read.

Earlier this month, top intelligence officials in the country had warned that Iran and Russia had obtained data on voter registrations. During a press conference on October 22, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that Iran had begun sending spoofed emails that were “designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump”.

However, it is not yet clear whether the defacement was carried out by foreign hackers or cybercriminals.

The recent hack was first noticed by Gabriel Lorenzo Greschler, a journalist from North Carolina, while he was researching for an article on climate change, The New York Times reported.

 

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