House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told fellow Democrats to change their phone numbers and not let family members read their text messages after a cybersecurity breach led to the release of personal information of members of Congress and their staff.
“I have received scores of mostly obscene and sick calls, voicemails and text messages,” Pelosi said Saturday in a letter to party members. “Please be careful not to allow your children or family members to answer your phone.”
Friday’s was the latest release of information from cyber-attacks — including those by groups with purported ties to Russia — against Democratic organizations as the 2016 elections heat up. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has high confidence the Russian government hacked party groups and the personal e-mails of political operatives, a person familiar with the findings said earlier this week.
Pelosi said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has hired a cybersecurity technology firm to investigate the breach, which she termed “an electronic Watergate break-in” and that the Capitol Police were looking at any threats posed by the release. The House information technology system wasn’t compromised, Pelosi said.
Appended to Pelosi’s letter was a memo from John Ramsey, chief information security officer for the House, outlining steps that should be taken immediately by those affected, from changing passwords to contacting police if they receive any threats.
The documents released on Friday by a person or persons going by the name “Guccifer 2.0” include lists of passwords, mobile phone numbers and e-mail addresses of hundreds of congressional staff members and campaign personnel, as well as lists of guests who have attended Democratic fund-raisers.
A hacker or group going by Guccifer 2.0 and purporting to be Romanian initially took credit for the breach of the Democratic National Committee. That claim was viewed skeptically, in part because the hacker didn’t appear to speak Romanian. Experts with FireEye Inc., a cybersecurity company, have said they believe Guccifer 2.0 is a cover identify for Russian hackers.
Pelosi said she’s changing her phone number and urged her colleagues to do the same. She said she was on a flight to from Florida to California when the information was released, and received the unwanted messages upon landing.
Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in July as chair of the DNC after some of the thousands of leaked e-mails posted by WikiLeaks showed committee staff appearing to favor Hillary Clinton and undermining Senator Bernie Sanders in his bid for the party’s presidential nomination.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has high confidence the Russian government hacked Democratic groups and the personal e-mails of political operatives, a person familiar with the findings said earlier this week.
The Russian government has dismissed the idea that it was involved in the hack of the DNC, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, while not revealing the source of the documents, said there’s “no proof whatsoever” that Moscow was involved.