A Democratic senator seeking reelection this fall appears to be the first identifiable target of Russian hacking in the 2018 midterm race. In a new story on the Daily Beast, Andrew Desiderio and Kevin Poulsen reported that Democratic Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill was targeted in a campaign-related phishing attack. That clears up one unspecified target from last week’s statement by Microsoft’s Tom Burt that three midterm election candidates had been targeted by Russian phishing campaigns.
The report cites its own forensic research in determining the attacker is likely Fancy Bear, a hacking group believed to be affiliated with Russian military intelligence.
“We did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks, and we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for elections in the midterm elections,” Burt said during the Aspen Security Forum. Microsoft removed the domain and noted that the attack was unsuccessful.
Sen. McCaskill confirmed in a press release that she was targeted by the attack, which appears to have taken place in August 2017:
Russia continues to engage in cyber warfare against our democracy. I will continue to speak out and press to hold them accountable. While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. I will not be intimidated. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Putin is a thug and a bully.
TechCrunch has reached out to Sen. McCaskill’s office for additional details on the incident. McCaskill, a vocal Russia critic, will likely face Republican frontrunner and Trump pick Josh Hawley this fall.