Beginning in March 2016, units of Russia’s military intelligence unit known as GRU hacked the computers and email accounts of organizations, employees and volunteers supporting the Clinton presidential campaign, including the email account of campaign chairman John Podesta, the Mueller report said.
The Russian group also hacked the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Initially, the GRU employed a hacking technique known as spearphishing. That’s when a hacker sends an email to a person that contains something like a link to a fake website or an attachment. When a person clicks that link or downloads that document, it could lead to malicious software being installed on that person’s computer or mobile device. The spoof website might ask for personal details about a person, which could include passwords to certain services they use.
Once the hackers were into the DCCC network after a successful spearphishing attempt, they were also able to get into the DNC network. From there, they implanted malicious software, which was able to log keystrokes, take screenshots, and gather other data about the infected computers. In this way, the GRU was able to steal thousands of documents from the Democrat campaign, including emails, which ended up on various online platforms including WikiLeaks.