Hackers allegedly used cryptocurrency in attack against Clinton campaign

tech trends 30 years from now questionable bitcoin

An 11-count federal indictment filed against 12 Russian military intelligence officers alleges that the group used cryptocurrency to remain anonymous in a scheme against the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. They are accused of using these digital coins to pay for the website used to release and publicize stolen election-related documents, keeping their true identities hidden.

A month before releasing the stolen documents, the group registered the dcleaks.com domain and leased a virtual private server through an online cryptocurrency service, according to the indictment. After that, they registered an URL-shortening account that was used to “spear phish” the Clinton campaign chairman and “other campaign-related individuals.”

From the time of the site’s launch until the end of the election, the group released emails stolen from the Clinton campaign and affiliated individuals, along with documents obtained through previous spear-phishing operations. The site claimed that it was run by “American hactivists” and received more than 1 million page views before it was shut down in March 2017.

At its core, cryptocurrency was designed to keep users anonymous … at least, in theory. In the case of Bitcoin, you can send and receive digital currency without supplying personal information, but you’re seemingly doing so under what could be deemed a pseudonym. The address (wallet) where you send and receive digital currency remains in a public ledger, so if that address is ever linked to your real name, any type of anonymity is flushed down the toilet.

According to the indictment filed by the Department of Justice, all 12 accused are members of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, or GRU, that’s part of the Russian military. They are charged with hacking into the computer networks of the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic National Committee using the names DCLeaks, Guccifer 2.0, and “another entity.”

The Department of Justice lists all 12 individuals, who were officials in Unit 26165 and Unit 74455 of the Russian government’s Main Intelligence Directorate at the time of the attacks.

For instance, Unit 26165 used spear-phishing campaigns against volunteers and employees of the Clinton campaign to steal usernames and passwords, and hack into other computers to steal emails and documents. The Department of Justice claims Unit 26165 worked with Unit 74455 to release those documents.

Meanwhile, Unit 74455 hacked into the computers of state boards of elections, secretaries of state, and U.S.-based companies that supplied software and other technology related to the administration of elections.

“To avoid detection, defendants used false identities while using a network of computers located around the world, including the United States, paid for with cryptocurrency through mining Bitcoin and other means intended to obscure the origin of the funds,” the Department of Justice states. “This funding structure supported their efforts to buy key accounts, servers, and domains.”

Here are the charges:

  • Count 1: criminal conspiracy
  • Count 2 – 9: Aggravated identify theft
  • Count 10: Conspiracy to launder money via cryptocurrency
  • Count 11: Conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States

The FBI’s cyber teams in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and San Francisco helped with the investigation,

Movies & TV

HBO’s Game of Thrones episode 3 preview looks ahead to the Battle of Winterfell

HBO released a brief video that teases the upcoming third episode of Game of Thrones' eighth and final season. It will feature the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell that pits the show's key characters against The Night King's undead army.
Gaming

Get over here and learn the proper way to deal a Fatal blow in Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 introduces the Fatal Blow system, which gives players with low health the chance to shift a fight back in their favor. Here is how to perform a Fatal Blow, and how to defend against one.
Smart Home

Oh, Zuck, no! Facebook rumored to be creating a voice assistant to rival Alexa

Facebook hasn't been a big player in the smart speaker market, but that may be changing: The social media giant is reportedly working on a digital assistant to compete against Alexa and others.
Smart Home

Alexa, Google, Siri put their bilingual skills to the test in translation battle

One Hour Translation, an online translation company, compared how Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Siri stack up against one another in regard to translation capabilities. The results may surprise you.
Home Theater

Sony’s 2019 TV lineup includes a 98-inch 8K OLED that costs more than a Corvette

Sony's 2019 TV lineup is revealed, including 8K and 4K models ranging in size from 43- to 98-inches and in price from $650 to a number much, much larger. The models will be available between May and June.
Cars

Where to go when your EV is low: Rich neighborhoods have most charging stations

If you're running low on juice in your electric vehicle, head for the rich part of town. A survey by Realtor.com found median home list prices in the 20 U.S. ZIP codes with the most EV charging stations were 2.6 times the national average.
Home Theater

Google brings ad-supported YouTube Music to its Google Home speakers

Hot on the heels of Amazon's announcement that it's adding a free version of its Amazon Music service to Alexa-powered speakers, Google is adding a free, ad-supported version of YouTube Music to Google Home smart speakers.
Cars

Ford is keeping hackers out of its cars by putting key fobs to sleep

Ford found a way to stop thieves who try to hack their way into a car by duplicating its key fob. It developed a smart key fob that puts itself to sleep when it's idle for at least 40 seconds. It automatically wakes up when someone picks it…
Cars

This vintage Ford Bronco off-roader has a modern electric powertrain

Zero Labs took a classic Ford Bronco and replaced its gasoline engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. So you get the style and off-road capability of a Bronco, but with zero emissions.
Smart Home

Google has tips for making your smart home more eco-friendly

Google is announcing new integrations for Google Assistant with energy and water-saving devices for Earth Day. The company is also offering tips on how to cut down on your energy bill.
Gaming

Retailer may have leaked The Last of Us Part 2 release date

A Slovakian retailer published a listing for The Last of Us Part 2, including a potential 2019 release date and box art. This leak comes shortly after an announcement that filming for the lead actors is complete.
Mobile

Samsung says the Galaxy Fold needs more improvements before it's released

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Smart Home

Best Buy zaps price on Nest Secure alarm, Nest Cam, and Google Home Mini bundle

Best Buy zapped the price of Nest smart home security Nest Secure Alarm and Nest Cam Outdoor bundle and added a Google Home Mini. Nest Detect sensors watch your home inside and out. Stream Nest Cam video in real-time or view clips later.
Computing

Microsoft deal takes up to $400 off select Surface Book 2 laptops

Microsoft is running a promotion for the Surface Book 2, taking as much as $400 off the price of the laptop at the Microsoft Store. The promotion applies to select 13.5- or 15-inch configurations of the convertible laptop.