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Hackers Stole $2.3M, Wisconsin Republicans Claims

 

Wisconsin: Republican officials said that hackers stole $2.3m from the party's account being used to support Donald Trump's re-election. 

Following the discovery of the suspicious activity on 22nd October, the FBI has been contacted to investigate the matter, as per the statements given by the state party chairman Andrew Hitt. He also that the state was warned regarding such cyberattacks in August during the party's national convention. 
 
The campaign invoices from four vendors were manipulated by hackers to steal the funds, as per the reports by the Associated Press. These vendors were being paid to send out direct mail and handing out pro-Trump material like hats to support the Trump campaign. 
 
Seemingly, the attackers began from a phishing scam and proceeded with altering the invoices to direct payments from vendors to themselves, Mr. Hitt said. A party spokesman added that no data seemed to be stolen. However, millions were stolen from the Wisconsin Republicans' federal account. 
 
According to Joe Tidy, BBC cyber-security reporter, "The information security world is tense right now waiting and watching for cyberattacks that could affect the US election." 
 
"It sounds like an almost standard case of something called Business Email Compromise (BEC). Effectively the hackers have either gained access to or spoofed an email address to put themselves between the Wisconsin Republican party HQ and one of their suppliers. The party then transferred the money to the hackers instead of its campaign partner," he said. 
 
"The reported hack comes as Mr. Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden are both making a final push this week to secure Wisconsin ahead of the 3 November election." 
 
"There have also been hundreds of attempted attacks on the Wisconsin Democratic campaign, a spokeswoman told the Associated Press." 
 
"The Midwestern state is one of a handful of core battleground states - areas which could realistically go to the Republicans or Democrats - this election season. Candidates will need to win in several states like Wisconsin in order to win the presidency." He further added.


Automated accounts sharing fake news ahead of French polls: Experts

French voters are being deluged with false stories on social media ahead of the country’s presidential election, though the onslaught of “junk news” is not as severe as that during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, according to a study by Oxford University researchers.

A man looks at campaign posters of the 11th candidates who run in the 2017 French presidential election in Enghien-les-Bains, near Paris, France April 19, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann.

The study to be published Friday and another published on Wednesday add evidence to complaints by officials in France, Germany and the United States that Russia is trying to replicate its cyber-powered election meddling in American politics.

Just days before France votes in the first round of a presidential election, the study said misinformation at times has accounted for one-quarter of the political links shared on Twitter in France. It defined “junk news” as deliberately false stories and those expressing “ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan or conspiratorial” views with logical flaws and opinions passed along as facts.

“French voters are sharing better quality information than what many U.S. voters shared and almost as much quality news and information as German users share,” according to the study by the Oxford Internet Institute, which will be published on Friday but was made available on Thursday to Reuters.

The French study uses data from a recent week on Twitter but a greater role is being played by Facebook, said Kevin Limonier of the University of Paris VIII, who is studying social media manipulation in the election with a grant from the French government.

Facebook recently suspended 30,000 suspected automated accounts in France. Although it characterized the cleanup as an objective move against spamming, many of the profiles were distributing politically driven misinformation and propaganda.

On Twitter, where automated accounts are allowed, many of the same accounts that promoted Republican Donald Trump in the U.S. campaign last year have turned their attention to pushing conspiracy theories and far-right viewpoints, according to Limonier and Clinton Watts, a former FBI agent and now a senior fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.