LONDON: The Russian government has hacked into a dossier on Donald Trump after compromising Democrat computers, party officials and researchers said yesterday (Tuesday). Cyber attackers focused on information in the research files of the Democratic National Committee, which included any dirt its investigators had dug up on the presumptive Republican presidential candidate.
They had access to the entire database of opposition research into the tycoon.
The hackers also targeted the networks of Mr Trump himself and Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democrat nominee as well as some other Republican political action committees, US officials said, but provided few details.
The Kremlin last night denied any involvement.
Hackers had access to the DNC network for more than a year, compromising its system so thoroughly that they were able to read all email and chat traffic.
"When we discovered the intrusion, we treated this like the serious incident it is," said Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chairman. "Our team moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network."
The DNC told the Washington Post, which broke the story, that no financial, donor or personal information was accessed or taken.
Once suspicious of the breach, its leaders brought in CrowdStrike, a cyber firm to combat the threat.
The cyber security group said that it had found evidence of hacks by two separate groups.
One, code-named Cozy Bear, broke into the DNC last summer and had been monitoring the committee's emails and chats. The other, dubbed Fancy Bear, hacked its servers in April to obtain the opposition research files.
The Kremlin is likely to have already compiled substantial information on Mrs Clinton, given her long political career.
But analysts said the attack appeared to signal an effort by Moscow to learn more about Mr Trump. As a real estate mogul with no prior political experience, he may remain a relatively unknown quantity.
"The purpose of such intelligence gathering is to understand the target's proclivities," said Robert Deitz, former senior councillor to the CIA director and a former general counsel at the National Security Agency.
"They may provide tips for understanding his style of negotiating. In short, this sort of intelligence could be used by Russia, for example, to indicate where it can get away with foreign adventurism."
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said: "I completely rule out a possibility that the (Russian) government or the government bodies have been involved in this."