Russians Carried Out A Successful Cyberattack Against A California Democrat Running Against Putin’s Favorite Congressman

The Russians successfully attacked a Democrat who was running against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) who is the most pro-Putin and pro-Russia member of Congress.

Rolling Stone reported:

The target of these attacks, Dr. Hans Keirstead, a stem-cell scientist and the CEO of a biomedical research company, finished third in California’s nonpartisan “top-two” primary on June 5th, falling 125 votes short of advancing to the general election in one of the narrowest margins of any congressional primary this year. He has since endorsed Harley Rouda, the Democrat who finished in second place and will face Rohrabacher in the November election.


The hacks on Keirstead began in August 2017 with a spear-phishing attempt — a fake email intended to deceive the recipient into typing in his or her password or other confidential information — sent to Keirstead’s work email address. The phishing attempt was successful — Keirstead thought it was a legitimate Microsoft Office message and entered his password before quickly realizing the message was fake and having his company take measures to secure their email system. (Keirstead had used his work account for campaign purposes, emails show.) This was similar to the phishing attack on Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that later resulted in the release of thousands of Podesta’s personal emails.

Those attacks were followed up by an attack on the campaign’s website and host, and an attack that tried to gain control of the campaign’s Twitter account. All of this follows a familiar pattern. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign was attacked by Russians using spear-phishing methods to try to gain access to emails. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) said that foreign actors had used the same spear-phishing methods to attack him and his children.

While Trump tweets about hoaxes and witch hunts, the Russians continue to attack the US electoral process and American democracy. Putin is going to help his pals in the Republican Party. The good news is that the Russians are using similar tactics to 2016, so every Democratic candidate should know what to look for. Trump and the Republican Party aren’t going to stop Putin, so it is up to every single candidate and voter combat Russian election interference.

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