Donald Trump, a friend of Russia? (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Democratic Party and cybersecurity are making headlines again, but this time, the story has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton and everything to do with Russian spies.

According to The Washington Post, government hackers in Russia breached the Democratic National Committee’s network and accessed a trove of information on Republican nominee Donald Trump. Ellen Nakashima writes:

The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some GOP political action committees, U.S. officials said. But details on those cases were not available. …

Some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer cleanup campaign, the committee officials and experts said.

The DNC said that no financial, donor or personal information appears to have been accessed or taken, suggesting that the breach was traditional espionage, not the work of criminal hackers.

Leaders within the DNC were alerted to the hack in late April, and computers have since been equipped with extra security measures. CrowdStrike, a software used to respond to and analyze cyberattacks, showed that two hacker groups (both working for the Russian government) had breached the system. Analysts told The Washington Post that because Trump is not a longtime politician, “foreign agencies are playing catch-up.”

It makes sense that Russia would want to know what the DNC has on Trump. As the website Quartz puts it, “Russia is the only country where a majority of citizens would prefer Trump over a Clinton presidency.” Earlier this year, Trump gave a foreign policy speech that garnered glowing reviews from Russia. CNN reports:

In Moscow’s Red Square, passersby speaking to CNN praised the New York tycoon. And Russian politicians from President Vladimir Putin on down have been quoted saying favorable things about the GOP presidential front-runner.

Putin recently called Trump “a brighter person, talented without a doubt.” Trump returned the compliment saying: “I like him because he called me a genius. He said Trump is the real leader.”

This exchange speaks volumes about both leaders, but there are dangerous possibilities in Trump and Putin’s complimentary relationship. Trump’s foreign policy statements on NATO, while worrisome to many countries, are welcomed by Russia. Within the country, much of the media is already praising Trump; Politico reports that there, he is portrayed as “a levelheaded pragmatist.”

Donald Trump has not yet commented, and according to the Washington Post, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy “had no knowledge of such intrusions.”

—Posted by Emma Niles

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