Technology

Why You’re Having Trouble with the Internet Today

For those having problems with the Internet today, Wired reports it’s due to a distributed denial of service attack that has taken down many websites on the Eastern seaboard of the United States.

It’s also impacted the Disqus commenting system used on Political Wire.

Gizmodo: “Some think the attack was a political conspiracy, like an attempt to take down the internet so that people wouldn’t be able to read the leaked Clinton emails on Wikileaks. Others think it’s the usual Russian assault. No matter who did it, we should expect incidents like this to get worse in the future. While DDoS attacks used to be a pretty weak threat, we’re entering a new era.”

Rick Hasen: “Call me paranoid. But I worry this is a dry run (from Russia?) for more Election Day shenanigans.”

Same Russian Hackers Got Into Podesta Email

“Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account was hacked by the same Russian intelligence-linked hackers that breached the DNC and the DCCC,” Politico reports.

“Podesta unwittingly gave hackers access to his account by clicking a Bitly link that redirected him to a fake Google login page, where he entered his credentials.”

Broadsoft: What to do if you’ve been hacked

Hacker Reveals Info on Almost 200 Democrats

“A hacker posted cellphone numbers and other personal information of nearly 200 current and former congressional Democrats on Friday, the latest public disclosure of sensitive records this election season,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The hacker, or group of hackers, going by the name ‘Guccifer 2.0’ said the records were stolen as part of a breach of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. A number of files were posted onto Guccifer 2.0’s website, including a spreadsheet that has information for 193 people, such as phone numbers and email addresses. The cellphone numbers of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland were among the information posted.”

Clinton Campaign Was Also Hacked

“The computer network used by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign was hacked as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations,” Reuters reports.

“The latest attack follows reports of two other hacks on the Democratic National Committee and the party’s fundraising committee for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.”

The New York Times says the intrusion “appears to have come from Russia’s intelligence services.”

Trump’s First Fundraising Email Ended Up as Spam

Ad Age: “The Donald Trump email that helped the campaign generate $3.3 million didn’t score well by accepted email measures… Nearly 60% of those first-ever fundraiser emails, however, never reached inboxes. Instead, they were automatically relegated to recipients’ spam folders, according to Return Path, which evaluates email campaigns using estimates based on its panel of 2.5 million active email users.”

“The email tracker also reported that just 12% of recipients opened the email and 6% deleted it without reading it.”

Does Google Favor Hillary Clinton?

“Google battled accusations that it manipulates its predicted-searches function to favor Hillary Clinton, the latest dust-up over the influence large tech companies exert in modern life,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Pop-culture news website SourceFed posted a video Thursday alleging that Google’s autocomplete service, which tries to predict queries as users type, is biased toward Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.”

Donald Trump was quoted by Business Insider: “If this is true, it is a disgrace that Google would do that. Very, very dishonest.”

Quote of the Day

“We can’t fetishize our phones above every other value. The dangers are real. This notion that sometimes our data is different and can be walled off from these other trade-offs is incorrect.”

— President Obama, quoted by The Next Web, backing the FBI’s efforts to force Apple to unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorists.

Cruz App Mines Data from Your Phone

Associated Press: “His ‘Cruz Crew’ mobile app is designed to gather detailed information from its users’ phones — tracking their physical movements and mining the names and contact information for friends who might want nothing to do with his campaign.”

“That information and more is then fed into a vast database containing details about nearly every adult in the United States to build psychological profiles that target individual voters with uncanny accuracy.”

Voter Data Exposed on the Internet

Reuters: “An independent computer security researcher uncovered a database of information on 191 million voters that is exposed on the open Internet due to an incorrectly configured database… The database includes names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliations, phone numbers and emails of voters in all 50 U.S. states and Washington.”

Sanders Disciplined by DNC for Data Breach

The DNC has told the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders “that it was suspending its access to its voter database after a software error enabled at least one of his staff members to review Hillary Clinton’s private campaign data,” the New York Times reports.

“The decision by the party committee is a major blow to Mr. Sanders’s campaign. The database includes information from voters across the nation and is used by campaigns to set strategy, especially in the early voting states.”

Washington Post: “Having his campaign cut off from the national party’s voter data is a strategic setback for Sanders — and could be a devastating blow if it lasts. The episode also raises questions about the DNC’s ability to provide strategic resources to campaigns and state parties.”

First Read: “But the DNC has to walk a careful line here: If the Sanders campaign takes appropriate action and disposes of the data it obtained, the DNC can’t look like it is slow-walking giving Sanders access again or they’ll get accused of tipping the scales.”

Bush Opposes Data Encryption

Jeb Bush said that “encryption makes it harder for law enforcement to track down ‘evildoers’ — and called for a ‘much better, more cooperative relationship’ with Apple, Google, and other tech companies that are building uncrackable private communication apps into their new products,” First Look reports.

Said Bush: “If you create encryption, it makes it harder for the American government to do its job — while protecting civil liberties — to make sure that evildoers aren’t in our midst.”

Facebook Seeks to Play Big Role in 2016

New York Times: “While it is no surprise that campaigns are devoting a greater share of their budget and energy on digital initiatives, Facebook, already a major player in past cycles, has been working to expand its digital dominance in the political realm.”

“Facebook — which has 189 million monthly users in the United States — has pitched its tools and services to every presidential campaign in the 2016 race, not to mention down-ballot races, to showcase new features as candidates seek to reach and recruit new supporters and potential donors. Some estimate that 2016 will usher in roughly $1 billion in online political advertising, and Facebook says it is on track to increase its revenue from previous cycles.”

Why Facebook May Be the Epicenter of the 2016 Race

National Journal: “Thanks to powerful new features unveiled since the 2012 campaign, Facebook now offers a far more customized and sophisticated splicing of the American electorate. And, for the first time in presidential politics, it can serve up video to those thinly targeted sets of people.”

“That unprecedented combination is inching campaigns closer to the Holy Grail of political advertising: the emotional impact of television delivered at an almost atomized, individual level. It makes the old talk of micro-targeting soccer moms and NASCAR dads sound quaint.”