North Korea targeted emails of Clinton advisers: report

North Korea targeted emails of Clinton advisers: report
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North Korean hackers breached the email accounts of a group of outside advisers for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE's 2016 presidential campaign.

The breaches, reported on Tuesday by CyberScoop, did not target the Clinton campaign's internal email accounts but instead focused on employees of at least one Washington-based think tank, some of whom were tied to an East Asia foreign policy advisory group for Clinton's campaign.

That policy group was organized outside the Clinton campaign and was made up of volunteers who occasionally were in contact with the official campaign committee.

The hackers reportedly sent phishing emails from accounts that were made to resemble the email account of one campaign official, according to CyberScoop.


Clinton campaign staffers became aware of the North Koreans' effort in February 2016, after an incident report by security experts circulated among campaign members. The email of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was compromised about a month later in a cyberattack linked to Russian hackers.

There is no evidence to suggest that the effort by Pyongyang to compromise the email accounts of individuals in the East Asia advisory group was tied to Russian hackers' breaches of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

A former U.S. official told CyberScoop that security experts and analysts are confident that the February 2016 hacks were the work of North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau. 

The hacking effort, CyberScoop reported, was aimed at obtaining information about a Clinton administration's potential policies in East Asia. It's not clear how much intelligence the hackers were able to acquire. 

It is not uncommon for a foreign government to attempt to hack a U.S. political campaign in order to obtain intelligence. As noted by CyberScoop, a group of hackers believed to be tied to China worked to acquire policy papers from the campaigns of former President Obama and his then-opponent, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News Trump's attacks on McConnell seen as prelude to 2024 White House bid MORE (R-Ariz.).