Trump data held by Democrats was 'hacked by Russia'

Two hacker groups 'gathered information on presidential candidate Donald Trump'

Russian government hackers have allegedly infiltrated Democratic National Committee (DNC) computers in order to gather research and other data on presidential candidate Donald Trump, it has been claimed.

No personal or financial data was stolen, the Washington Post reports, though committee officials and security experts who responded to the security breach claim the hackers gained access to all email and chat traffic present in the data.

Some hackers had access to the network for over a year, according to the publication.

It is thought that hackers gained access to the network via 'spearphishing' emails containing malicious software attachments sent to DNC employees. The intruders have now been 'kicked out' and the network secured, according to DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

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Shawn Henry, president of the cybersecurity firm called upon to handle the DNC breach, CrowdStrike, and former head of the cyber division at the FBI, told the Post: "It's the job of every foreign intelligence service to collect intelligence against their adversaries.

"We're perceived as an adversary of Russia. Their job when they wake up every day is to gather intelligence against the policies, practices and strategies of the US government. There are a variety of ways. [Hacking] is one of the more valuable because it gives you a treasure trove of information."

The breach was discovered by the DNC when its IT team alerted leaders to unusual network activity back in April. After installing CrowdStrike software on computers, the firm was able to identify the presence of two separate hacker groups Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear - both affiliated with the Russian government.

The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted, but Russia has denied involvement with the hacking.

A Kremlin spokesman told Reuters: "I completely rule out a possibility that the [Russian] government or the government bodies have been involved in this."

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