19 House Democrat Websites Have Been Down for Days, Hacked Following Sit-In

By Published on June 29, 2016

Hackers took over 19 official government websites for Congressman since last Thursday after a major hacking incident compromised the network.

The affected representatives contract their website management with the company DCS Services who works exclusively with House Democrats. People who visit the official sites of the nineteen affected legislators see a “site under maintenance” message.

Scott Ferson, president of the public relations firm representing DCS Services spoke to the DCNF and confirmed that the hack occurred at approximately 1:05 pm the day the sit-in ended.

Ferson said that at this point, they have no evidence or specific reasons to believe that the hack was directly related to the day-long protest over gun control, but Gordon Stanton, director of congressional services at DCS, said that “we do not believe it is a coincidence that this happened just as the Democrats started officially wrapping up their sit-in on efforts to prevent gun violence.”

The hacker or hackers uploaded a file called a “web shell” to the database of one of the lawmakers’ websites and used it to activate a coordinated attack, gaining access to additional member’s sites. Ferson asserted that no personal or sensitive information was compromised as a result of the hack, and that DCS is putting on a “full court effort” in conjunction with the House Chief Administration Officer (CAO) to resolve the matter.

Politico reported that DCS builds its websites using Joomla, a content management system that has a history of significant security flaws and that, “anger at DCS is so widespread that some aides [from affected offices] asked colleagues on an internal email list for suggestions of other vendors.”

The following Representative are affected by the hacking incident: Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), John Carney (Del.), Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Lloyd Doggett (Texas), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Elizabeth Esty (Conn.), Sam Farr (Calif.), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Alan Grayson (Fla.), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio), William Keating (Mass.), John Larson (Conn.), Jim McDermott (Wash.), Richard Neal (Mass.), Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), Bennie Thompson (Miss.) and Filemon Vela (Texas).

This latest hack follows a string of security breaches for Democratic Party officials, including a hack of the Democratic National Committee.


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