election interference
August 15, 2018

A California congressional candidate says his campaign was the victim of ongoing cyberattacks that are now under investigation by the FBI, Rolling Stone reported Wednesday.

Hans Keirstead, who was running to unseat Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), fell just short of moving to the general election, losing out by just 125 votes back in June. His campaign manager, Kyle Quinn-Quesada, said some outside entity carried out persistent attempts to hack the campaign website, gain access to Keirstead's email accounts, and take over the campaign's Twitter account.

"It is clear from speaking with campaign professionals around the country that the sustained attacks the Keirstead for Congress campaign faced were not unique but have become the new normal for political campaigns in 2018," Quinn-Quesada told Rolling Stone. Last month, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Russia unsuccessfully targeted her campaign with cyberattacks, and Sen. Bill Nelson (D) of Florida said Russia had "penetrated" some of the state's voting systems. The FBI hasn't told the Keirstead campaign whether it has identified who was perpetrating the attacks.

Rolling Stone notes that 15-term incumbent Rohrabacher is one of the most pro-Russia members of Congress, voting against Russian sanctions and supporting President Trump's effort to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. While the Keirstead campaign has no evidence that Russia was behind the attacks, and Quinn-Quesada says he does not believe the cyberattacks affected the election results, the investigation fits in with intelligence officials' warnings of pervasive cyber threats to the midterm elections. Read more at Rolling Stone. Summer Meza

July 31, 2018

Facebook said Tuesday that it has identified a coordinated effort to influence the upcoming midterm elections, with a network of fraudulent accounts that are spreading divisive content in an attempt to interfere with national politics.

The company said it removed 32 accounts that "went to much greater lengths to obscure their true identities" than the platform previously saw with Russia's Internet Research Agency. More than 290,000 accounts followed at least one of the 32 pages, and they had created more than 9,500 posts since last year.

It's still unclear whether the newly-uncovered accounts are tied to Russia, reports The New York Times, but the pages paid for $11,000 in political ads in both U.S. and Canadian dollars. Facebook is working with the FBI to tamp down on the interference and investigate the ongoing activity. Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza

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