By Jack Gillum, Deb Riechmann and Julie Pace, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Sophisticated hackers linked to Russian intelligence services broke into the Democratic National Committee’s computer networks and gained access to confidential emails, chats and opposition research on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, people familiar with the breach said Tuesday.
CrowdStrike Inc., a cybersecurity firm, said the DNC asked it to investigate a suspected breach of its systems that began as early as last summer. CrowdStrike said it quickly found traces of two of the best adversaries in the hacking arena, both tied to the Russian government.
The newly revealed attacks join a host of high-profile digital breaches affecting current and past White House hopefuls, underscoring vulnerabilities in digital networks that increasingly hold sensitive data about political candidates, their opponents and their donors.
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the incident serious and said the committee moved quickly to “kick out the intruders and secure our network.” The DNC said donor, financial and personal information did not appear to have been accessed by the hackers.
But an individual knowledgeable of the breach said at least one year’s worth of detailed chats, emails and opposition research on Trump were stolen. That kind of research, a staple of political campaigns, often contains detailed information — sometimes factual and sometimes specious — about a candidate’s personal and professional history.
The individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the breach, said DNC officials first learned about…