Russian hackers reportedly extorting cash from liberal political groups

A report from Bloomberg paints a grim picture of left-leaning political groups being targeted by (apparently) Russian hackers; but don’t worry: this seems to be more “open season on DC” than Russki cyber-soldiers trying to derail the democratic process (again).

The methodology seems to be more like that of a mercenary hacking group looking to squeeze well-funded groups for cash: emails are compromised by the usual means, then potentially embarrassing info is located (misuse of funds or unprofessional conduct, for example) and cash is requested — in the $30,000-$150,000 range, apparently, to be paid in bitcoin.

The Center for American Progress and Arabella Advisors are two organizations reportedly targeted (although the former denied it in a statement); such groups do consulting and lobbying work and many are well-funded. But it’s possible that the average hacker stayed away from the political sphere before now, perhaps not wanting to cross paths with their state-sponsored counterparts, or perhaps just not considering them worthwhile targets.

Collusion is not out of the question, either, and black hats might be out there doing what they feel is their patriotic duty — but there’s no evidence right now one way or the other.

Whatever the case, the hack is on now. And regardless of what end of the political spectrum an organization falls on, if its security hasn’t been beefed up in response to the eye-popping breaches of the last couple of years, it was gambling its fate.