We Spoke to DNC Hacker 'Guccifer 2.0'
The hacker who claimed responsibility for the DNC denied being a Russian spy.
Image: John Williams RUS/Shutterstock and Wikimedia Commons
Last week, a mysterious hacker using the handle "Guccifer 2.0" emerged to claim responsibility for the data breach at the Democratic National Committee, which democrats and several cybersecurity firms attributed to two groups of Russian hackers, likely working for Vladimir Putin's government.
Now, the hacker is keeping his threat to leak more documents stolen from the DNC's servers, and, for the first time, has agreed to answer questions.
Read the full transcript of our chat with Guccifer 2.0 here.
"I'm a hacker, manager, philosopher, women lover," Guccifer 2.0 told Motherboard on Tuesday in a Twitter chat. "I also like Gucci! I bring the light to people. I'm a freedom fighter! So u can choose what u like!"
The hacker, who claimed to have chosen the name in reference to the notorious hacker who leaked the George W. Bush paintings and claims to have hacked Hillary Clinton's email server, denied working for the Russian government, as several experts believe.
"I don't like Russians and their foreign policy. I hate being attributed to Russia."
"I don't like Russians and their foreign policy. I hate being attributed to Russia," he said, adding that he was from Romania, just like the first Guccifer.
Guccifer 2.0 said he hacked into the DNC in the summer of 2015. He claimed that he used an unknown vulnerability in NGP VAN, which is a software provider for the DNC, to hack into the DNC servers, which have a Windows architecture. (There's no evidence whatsoever that the hacker really broke through via NGP VAN.)
"Then I installed my Trojans on several PCs. I had to go from one PC to another every week so CrowdStrike couldn't catch me for a long time," he said. "I know that they have cool intrusion detection system. But my heuristic algorithms are better."
But when we asked him to explain to us how he hacked into the DNC in Romanian, he seemed to stall us, and said he didn't want to "waste" his time doing that. The few short sentences he sent in Romanian were filled with mistakes, according to several Romanian native speakers.
The hacker said he left Russian metadata in the leaked documents as his personal "watermark." He also said he got kicked out of the network on June 12, when the DNC "rebooted their system."
A senior DNC official said in an emailed statement that "our experts are confident in their assessment that the Russian government hackers were the actors responsible for the breach detected in April, and we believe that the subsequent release and the claims around it may be a part of a disinformation campaign by the Russians."
"I think we must fight for freedom of minds. Fight for the world without Illuminati."
CrowdStike's co-founder and CTO Dmitri Alperovitch, whose company was called in after the DNC found out about the breach, directed us to the blog post his company published last week.
Guccifer 2.0 also said the DNC isn't the only victim of his hacks, but declined to name any others because "my safety depends on it."
When asked why he targeted the DNC, Guccifer 2.0 said he simply did it to follow the lead of Marcel Lazar, the original Guccifer, and that he doesn't "care at all" about Donald Trump. The hacker declined to say whether he knew him personally, "cause I care for Marcel."
"I think we must fight for freedom of minds," he wrote. "Fight for the world without Illuminati."