The controversy surrounding former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) apparently extends beyond the two affairs she has been accused of having with staffers and the nude photos of the congresswoman that were subsequently released, prompting the end of her tenure in Congress.
According to the New York Post, the husband of one of Hill’s former campaign staffers was arrested by the FBI on Friday for allegedly hacking into the campaign website of one of the Democrat’s opponents just before Hill won her 2018 primary election.
Arthur Jan Dam has been accused of cyberattacks against Hill’s primary opponent, Bryan Caforio, who lost to Hill by 1,500 votes before she went on to win the general election to represent California’s 25th district.
Hill and her staffer, Dam’s wife, do not appear to have had any knowledge of or involvement in Dam’s actions, according to the FBI. He apparently acted alone.
Dems targeting Dems
“While the FBI does not name the target of the hacks” in its charging documents, according to Politico, Caforio told the outlet that he is, “to the best of [his] knowledge,” the victim of Dam’s attacks.
Federal records revealed that Dam donated computer services to Hill’s campaign, and BuzzFeed News reported Friday that an investigation showed Dam used his own name to pay for an Amazon Web Services account that was used to launch the DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.
According to the Associated Press, Dam had conducted “extensive research” on his victims before the attacks, which reportedly originated from Dam’s various logins.
One such cyberattack took place just ahead of a debate between Hill and Caforio, about a week before the election, preventing supporters from making contributions to Caforio’s campaign online or seeing his platform.
A Rolling Stone article in September chronicled the attacks, but it apparently wasn’t until recently that authorities discovered who was responsible.
Election security under attack
Amid reports of possible Russian meddling in upcoming elections, it is important for Americans to believe that their votes are secure and not vulnerable to attack. But this story shows that not only could there be threats to our elections from other countries — even domestic cybercriminals could use their skills to disrupt the 2020 race.
What’s more, the Caforio campaign’s efforts to beef up their cybersecurity after the initial attack didn’t prevent Dam from hitting the website again at a critical time. Will this year’s presidential contenders be just as vulnerable? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, it’s good to know that the FBI was able to figure out who was behind the attacks on Caforio. Hopefully, this show of force by federal authorities will serve as a deterrent to others who don’t want to play the game fair.