DNC Still Assessing Hack Damage, Hasn't Notified Donors of Breach

Hack victimizes thousands, reveals personal data on Hollywood stars, superrich.

ByABC News
July 28, 2016, 9:12 AM

PHILADELPHIA— -- The Democratic National Committee has yet to notify thousands of wealthy donors whose email addresses and other personal information have been exposed by a pernicious cyberintrusion, including Hollywood stars, CEOs and some of America’s superrich.

“It’s very disturbing,” said Georgia trial lawyer Mark Tate, who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Party and its candidates. “They haven’t told me that my information is out there.”

But out there it is, along with thousands of donor files — many of them listed on a massive spreadsheet the party called the “Big Spreadsheet of All Things,” which appears to list data about every check written to the party, Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama going back to 2013. The file includes email addresses, phone numbers and in some cases additional personal information not publicly available on FEC reports. Under FEC rules, contributors are required to reveal the amounts of their gifts and provide a mailing address but not email or phone information.

“If I were a hacker, this list and these emails are where I would start,” said Justin Harvey, the chief security officer for Fidelis Cybersecurity, one of the firms that helped investigate the hack of the Democratic Party. “These emails and the other information would be extremely valuable for a hacker trying to gain entry to the personal computers of a target with a phishing scam.”

Among the well-known Democratic supporters whose personal informations appear in the hacked files are Eva Longoria, Ellen DeGeneres, Kyra Sedgwick and James Cameron. California billionaire Tom Steyer’s information is exposed, as is that of megadonor George Soros.

“While we do not yet know the scope of the intrusion or all of the individuals who may have been affected, we are quickly reviewing the thousands of emails and files stolen from the DNC and disclosed by WikiLeaks to determine and make the appropriate notifications,” a Democratic Party official told ABC News in response to questions about the hack.

“The DNC takes privacy matters very seriously,” the official said.

ABC News analyzed some of the more than 19,000 internal DNC documents that cybersecurity firms say were likely hacked by Russians and published online by WikiLeaks.

Like any corporation or retail chain that is hacked, the DNC is required in most states to notify potential victims that their private information has been exposed. But state laws give the targeted party time to assess the damage first.

The DNC has known for several months that there was an intrusion. Only after WikiLeaks published some of the records on Friday, though, was the party aware of what data had been stolen.

In at least a handful of instances, the online documents reveal Social Security numbers, passport information and in one case, a photocopy of a bank check for $150,000, with the account number and signatures clearly visible.

Not all major Democratic donors were unnerved by the hack. Orin Kramer, a top fundraiser for Obama and legions of other Democrats, said in an email to ABC News, “Other than contact info being out there, emails [about] me innocuous.”

In an audio recording that was among the hacked files, William C. Eacho, who served under Obama as the ambassador to Austria, can be heard on a voice mail message confirming dinner with the president. “No one from DNC has reached out yet, but am sure they are a bit busy this week!” Eacho wrote in an email in response to ABC News.

Democratic donor Michael Zaleski learned a photocopy of his passport was part of the breach. He said someone from the DNC called to notify him over the weekend. “Obviously I’m disappointed — but more angry at [Republican nominee Donald] Trump for sidling up to the Russians. It’s treasonous,” he said.

Tate said he hopes to hear from the DNC about what specific personal data about him has been exposed, so he can take measures to protect his privacy.

“I’ve always been loyal to the Democratic Party,” he said. “But they need to let me know what stuff is out there.”

Related Topics