House Democratic leaders on Saturday urged members to upgrade their security as staffers were flooded Saturday with vulgar, malicious emails and texts following a massive online dump of their contact information late Friday — the latest fallout of a series of election-season cyberattacks primarily targeting the Democratic Party.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, calling the incident a “sad course of events,” wrote in a note to colleagues that she was changing her phone number and advised colleagues to do the same. An email from the Democratic Caucus told members and staffers whom to contact to do so.
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“I was in the air flying from Florida to California when the news broke,” Pelosi wrote. “Upon landing, I have received scores of mostly obscene and sick calls, voice mails and text messages.”
Other aides told POLITICO that overnight they received dozens, even hundreds of spear phishing-style emails and texts, which are fake messages that lure recipients into clicking on malware-laded links, possibly infecting the entire device.
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico scheduled a conference call for members Saturday evening “with a senior representative from the Sergeant-At-Arms office, and cybersecurity experts who have been investigating and responding to th breach to provide an update and some security guidance to members,” Pelosi told her fellow Democrats.
The surge of security advisey follows an online data dump from the hacker known as “Guccifer 2.0” of an Excel spreadsheet that contains emails and phone numbers for nearly every Democratic staffer.
Guccifer 2.0 — who researchers believe is a front for Russian hackers affiliated with Moscow’s military intelligence agency — said the documents came from the previously revealed digital break-in at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Those same Russian cyber spies have also been blamed for an earlier intrusion at the Democratic National Committee.
In a message sent Saturday …