On Tuesday night, President Trump spoke to supporters in Wisconsin, relaying some of the final and most important messages of his campaign to the crucial swing-state voters. “You like the song ‘O Canada,’ right?” he asked. “Yeah. Hockey game. Nice song. ‘O Canada,’ their national anthem. By the way, they stand for their national anthem. Our people have to stand for our national anthem. They have to stand. But Canada treated us badly.”
Voters who went to his campaign website found a different message. Under doctored banners of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice, a lowercase screed read that Trump’s “site was seized” due to “classified information … proving that the trump-gov is involved in the origin of the coronavirus.” The missive also claimed that evidence would soon be revealed that proved Trump’s “criminal involvment” with foreign actors interfering in the 2020 election. All that was needed for the exposure of the massive scandal — or to keep it under wraps — would be sending cash to a Monero link, a cryptocurrency known to be difficult to trace.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said that the “website was defaced and we are working with law-enforcement authorities to investigate the source of the attack,” which lasted for around 30 minutes. According to the New York Times, “cybersecurity experts said that the incident could have been caused by tricking a website administrator into turning over their credentials, in what is known as a phishing attack, or by redirecting the campaign website to the hacker’s own server.”
The hack came a little over three months since dozens of major Twitter accounts — including those of Joe Biden and Barack Obama — were compromised in a Bitcoin scam that law-enforcement officials allege was orchestrated by a teenager in Florida. Though both actions were shut down quickly and appeared to cause little damage, the two major hacks this election year reveal the prevalence of the threat. And while the Biden campaign has expressed concern over the potential of online interference in next week’s election, Trump has been less occupied with the problem. Last week, days before the director of national intelligence warned of online disinformation coming from Iran and Russia, the president told his followers in Arizona that “nobody gets hacked. To get hacked you need somebody with 197 I.Q. and he needs about 15 percent of your password.” He apparently forgot, or wasn’t aware, that Trump Hotels had been breached in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.