A "lone hacker" says reports that the Russian government hacked the Democratic National Committee are false.
Image: Inter-American Dialogue
A "lone hacker" calling themselves "Guccifer 2.0" has claimed responsibility for hacking the Democratic National Committee and claims reports that the Russian government perpetrated the attack are false. The hacker also says the DNC lied about—or didn't know the extent of—what was stolen.
Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that at least two groups of Russian government intelligence agency hackers had spent a year stealing the DNC's opposition research on Donald Trump, as well as the organization's chats and emails.
The DNC said that no financial information or secret documents were stolen; on a specially created Wordpress site, Guccifer 2.0 disputed those claims and dumped documents that the hacker says proves the DNC was lying. The original Guccifer is a Romanian man who hacked high-profile US government accounts and claimed to have hacked Hillary Clinton's private email server.
"Guccifer may have been the first one who penetrated Hillary Clinton's and other Democrats' mail servers," Guccifer 2.0 wrote. "But he certainly wasn't the last. No wonder any other hacker could easily get access to the DNC's servers."
Tuesday, the security firm CrowdStrike said that it believed the hack was the work of sophisticated Russian government hackers. Guccifer 2.0 wrote that they were "very pleased the company appreciated my skills so highly))) But in fact, it was easy, very easy."
To prove their claims, Guccifer 2.0 released a document called "Donald Trump Report," a 237-page dossier about Trump that appears to be a summary of opposition research against the Republican presidential candidate. The report is divided into sections like "Trump is a liar," "Trump Proposed Banning All Muslims," and "Business Ventures." The DNC did not respond to a request for comment about whether the report and the other documents released by Guccifer 2.0 are authentic, but the Trump report is extensive, well sourced, and is not otherwise publicly available. Guccifer 2.0's claims were first reported by The Smoking Gun and Gawker.
As I reported Tuesday, opposition research almost always is meant to eventually become public and, in this election, might not be very useful. So potentially more damaging for the Democrats are other documents published by the hacker such as an Excel file called "Big Donors" that appears to list 21 people who donated at least $500,000 to the DNC. Other Excel files claim to include other donor information as well as attendance information for fundraising events. The DNC said Tuesday that no financial information was included in the hack.
"Shame on CrowdStrike: Do you think I've been in the DNC's networks for almost a year and saved only 2 documents? Do you really believe it?," the hacker wrote.
Finally, Guccifer 2.0 claims to have stolen secret documents belonging to Hillary Clinton from the DNC. We have yet to verify this claim. One document published is called "Promises and Proposals — National Security & Foreign Policy" and is stamped with a "secret" designation.
The document appears to be from 2008 and includes what appear to be goals for Barack Obama's first presidency term (the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the document). The document lays out in plain language what Obama planned to do in his first term, however, the document cites only public speeches and documents released by the Obama campaign and the Organizing for Action committee he set up after he won the election. It does not seem to include any classified information.
Guccifer 2.0 says the document comes from "Hillary Clinton's PC" but does not say why this specific document would be on DNC servers. The hacker doesn't given any more information about what other secret or top secret documents—if any—they possess.
Guccifer 2.0 said they had passed the rest of the documents to WikiLeaks, who "will publish them soon."
"Fuck the Illuminati and their conspiracies!!!!!!!!! Fuck CrowdStrike!!!!!!!!!," the hacker said.
Motherboard has reached out to Guccifer 2.0 and will update this post if we hear back.
Update, 6/16/16, 12:14 am: CrowdStrike emailed us the following statement:
"CrowdStrike stands fully by its analysis and findings identifying two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016. On June 15, 2016 a blog post to a Wordpress site authored by an individual using the moniker Guccifer 2.0 claimed credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee. This blog post presents documents alleged to have originated from the DNC.
Whether or not this posting is part of a Russian Intelligence disinformation campaign, we are exploring the documents' authenticity and origin. Regardless, these claims do nothing to lessen our findings relating to the Russian government's involvement, portions of which we have documented for the public and the greater security community."