Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hackers Targeting Think Tanks Amid 2016 Election Season

As the 2016 presidential candidates battle it out loudly for all of the public to see, a much quieter battle is taking place against the candidates and their current and future advisors.

Foreign intelligence services are using a "back door" into campaign thinking by hacking into think tanks at an increased rate, trying to get as much intelligence as possible from think tankers who are advising the candidates and drafting their policy proposals.

Here is more from Bloomberg:
Foreign hackers are going after the wonks.
Cyber criminals are targeting policy groups and nongovernmental organizations to get a leg up on U.S. government strategy, according to an executive at cybersecurity company CrowdStrike Inc. Such "nation-state" hackers, often tied to governments including China or Russia, want advanced intelligence on U.S. policy, said Shawn Henry, chief security officer of the Irvine, California-based company.
"They want to know what the thought leaders in the United States are considering, what they’re debating,” Henry, who oversaw the FBI’s global cyber investigations before retiring in 2012, said in an interview in Arlington, Virginia. "They’re looking for how policy is being designed. They’re looking at how senior leaders or former senior leaders are advising existing senior leaders -- what the emerging issues are, how the U.S. government is going to implement certain strategy."
While Henry wouldn’t provide specifics on targets, Washington has many so-called think tanks and interest groups staffed by former government officials and analysts who stay in close touch with current policy makers.

Think tanks have been playing an increasing role in the Donald Trump campaign, and Hillary Clinton has extremely close ties to a number of think tanks, including Brookings, the Center for American Progress (CAP), Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Think Tank Watch has previously reported that nearly every major think tank in the US has been hacked, including the Urban Institute, Aspen Institute, Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Center for American Progress (CAP), Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Heritage Foundation.