Russian hackers attempted to breach Democratic National Committee email addresses in a spear-phishing campaign just after the 2018 midterms, according to a DNC court document filed Thursday night.
“The content of these emails and their timestamps were consistent with a spear-phishing campaign that leading cybersecurity experts have tied to Russian intelligence,” reads the complaint. “Therefore, it is probable that Russian intelligence again attempted to unlawfully infiltrate DNC computers in November 2018.”
The complaint—part of the DNC’s ongoing lawsuit against Russia, WikiLeaks, the Trump campaign, Russian operatives, and other Trump associates in connection to the 2016 hacking of DNC computers—said there is no evidence that the attempted hack in Nov. 2018 was successful.
Spear-phishing campaigns involve sending emails that appear to be from a trusted source in order to gain confidential information. According to CNN, the emails in question appeared to have been sent from a State Department official and contained a PDF attachment that, if opened, would allow the hacker access to the recipient’s computer.
The timing and content of these emails were consistent with the practices of the Russian hacking group known as Cozy Bear, one of the two groups that hacked the DNC prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
According to the cybersecurity firm FireEye, Cozy Bear attempted to hack over 20 entities in Nov. 2018, including clients in local government, transportation, defense, law enforcement, and military.