In Wisconsin, a Stunning Loss at the Hands of Hackers

Seen though an interior window, an employee looks at computer screens in the offices of Secureworks in Atlanta on Oct. 4, 2017. Nineteen thousand lines of targeting data obtained from threat intelligence firm Secureworks lays out in unprecedented detail who the hackers tried to compromise, providing a minute-by-minute look at how the group often dubbed "Fancy Bear" penetrated the Democratic National Committee, tried to break into the Clinton campaign and eventually stole chairman John Podesta's emails. (AP Photo/Marina Hutchinson)

Wisconsin was the surprise from 2016.  Though Donald Trump didn’t need Wisconsin after his shocking wins in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin was the cherry-on-the-top victory for Trump, and could very well lead to deciding his re-election.

It now appears that the Wisconsin GOP was the victim of a shocking cyber crime, that will cripple the party through election day.

From NBC News:

“Hackers stole $2.3 million from the Wisconsin Republican Party’s account that was being used to help re-elect President Donald Trump in the key battleground state, the party’s chairman told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The party noticed the suspicious activity on Oct. 22 and contacted the FBI on Friday, said Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt.

Hitt said the FBI is investigating. FBI spokesman Leonard Peace did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The attack was discovered less than two weeks before Election Day as both Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden made their final push to win Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes. Trump won the state by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016 and planned his third visit in seven days on Friday. Biden also planned to campaign in Wisconsin on Friday. Polls have consistently shown a tight race in the state, usually with Biden ahead by single digits and within the margin of error.”

2.3 million dollars is a lot of cheddar.  I have previously run ground games in races with a tenth of that, so to lose that amount of money could be devastating and a hindrance to Trump’s performance in the state.  This amounted to more than just a bank robbery.  The hackers used a complex strategy to have the money sent to them through invoicing.

He said the hackers manipulated invoices from four vendors who were being paid to send out direct mail for Trump’s re-election efforts and to provide pro-Trump material such as hats that could be handed out to supporters. Invoices and other documents were altered so when the party paid them, the money went to the hackers instead of the vendors, Hitt said.

The hack was allegedly discovered after an audit of the invoicing exposed the plot.  Other state Republican resources were notified of the attack and have been looking into the matter.

The Wisconsin GOP has issued the following statement:

“Cybercriminals, using a sophisticated phishing attack, stole funds intended for the re-election of President Trump, altered invoices and committed wire fraud. These criminals exhibited a level of familiarity with state party operations at the end of the campaign to commit this crime. While a large sum of money was stolen, our operation is running at full capacity with all the resources deployed to ensure President Donald J. Trump carries Wisconsin on November 3rd.”

It goes to show just how close the Democrats think they are to winning Wisconsin.  Let’s hope that the voters reject these tactics and use their vote as a censure of Democrats.