The official campaign website for President Donald Trump was hacked, leading to a brief shutdown of the website before it was returned to normal.
The hacking occurred in the “About” section of donaldjtrump.com. The standard text, which includes a brief Trump biography, was briefly replaced by claims the hackers had “full access” to Trump and his relatives. There was no evidence to suggest this was true. The website was taken offline briefly at about 7 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
TechCrunch reported the hack appeared to be a scam to collect cryptocurrency.
Here’s what you need to know:
No Sensitive Data Was Exposed in Hack, Says Trump Campaign
Earlier this evening, the Trump campaign website was defaced and we are working with law enforcement authorities to investigate the source of the attack. There was no exposure to sensitive data because none of it is actually stored on the site. The website has been restored.
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) October 28, 2020
Tim Murtaugh, the director of communications for Trump’s reelection campaign, confirmed the campaign website had been hacked. He said there was no exposure to sensitive data, and the website was restored. He added officials are working with law enforcement to identify “the source of the attack.”
“Earlier this evening, the Trump campaign website was defaced and we are working with law enforcement authorities to investigate the source of the attack. There was no exposure to sensitive data because none of it is actually stored on the site. The website has been restored,” he wrote on Twitter.
Hackers altered the “About” page of the Trump campaign website, writing “this site was seized” along with FBI and Department of Justice seals.
“the world has had enough of the fake-news spreaded daily by president donald j trump,” the site said. “it is time to allow the world to know truth.”
The hackers claimed “multiple devices were compromised that gave full access to trump and relatives,” further claiming this gave them access to “classified information” indicating the Trump administration was involved in the “origin of the corona virus” and that the administration colluded with “foreign actors” to manipulate the 2020 election.
Early Reports Indicate the Hack of Trump’s Campaign Website Was a Scam to Collect Cryptocurrency
— Gabriel Lorenzo Greschler (@ggreschler) October 27, 2020
Monero is a cryptocurrency that’s easy to send but quite difficult to track. For this reason it has become associated with unsavory operations such as this hack.
One address was for people that wanted the “strictly classified information” released, the other for those who would prefer to keep it secret. After an unspecified deadline the totals of cryptocurrency would be compared and the higher total would determine what was done with the data.
The page was signed with a PGP public key corresponding to an email address at a non-existent domain (planet.gov).
The website reported the scam is a common trick which attempts to lure people into sending cryptocurrency to web addresses. The scam typically relies on brief appearances on high visibility platforms, such as the campaign website and celebrity Twitter accounts. The scam was caught within a few minutes.