U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver blames Bitcoin for assisting some Russians in publishing stolen Clinton campaign emails.
The United States Justice Department has released an indictment which accuses 12 Russian operatives of interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign. These Russians did this through an email phishing scheme. Named in the indictment were defendants Victor Borisovich Netysho, Boris Alekseyevich Antonov, Dimitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev, Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, and Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin.
The Russians purchased the domain dcleaks.com with Bitcoin and would later use that website to post emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. This website was hosted on a Malaysian server that was also purchased using Bitcoin.
This led U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver to tweet the following:
I’ve been warning of the potential dangers of @Bitcoin being used by nefarious actors. Now, we know Russia used #cryptocurrency to fund their meddling campaign in 2016. The #crypto industry needs to step their game up. @blockchain @BTCFoundation @DigitalChamber https://t.co/BTa8rsbtln
— Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (@repcleaver) 13. juli 2018
The Russians got access to these emails via the fraudulent practice of phishing, meaning that they sent fake emails that were disguised to look official to members of the Clinton campaign. The Russians targeted the chairman of the Clinton campaign, who fell for the attack, and as a result, over 50,000 emails were stolen.
There is only one transaction listed on the indictment and it reads, “[p]lease send exactly 0.026043 bitcoin to.” According to the indictment, this message was sent on February 1st, 2016 when each Bitcoin was worth about $372, meaning this transaction equated to a whopping $9.68 at the time.
It seems completely ridiculous to blame this on Bitcoin. The Clinton campaign chairman and other members and volunteers for the campaign fell for phishing scams, and the scammers got what they wanted, and that’s nobody’s fault but their own. Political campaigns will forever be targets for such attacks and should be educated on identifying them to avoid this in the future.
Below is a funny tweet that makes fun of how ridiculous the blame on Bitcoin is for this whole thing:
“the use of email allowed conspirators to exchange information without the usage of traditional postal institutions”
— (@nic__carter) 14. juli 2018