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Democratic National Committee breached by Russian hackers

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(NBC) -

The Democratic National Committee's computer network was breached by a Russian government cyber operation that has had access to the group's communications and databases since at least last summer, NBC News confirms.

The sophisticated Russian group, which has also targeted both the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, specifically targeted research units within the DNC and had access to all of its communications, including chat and email applications.

The hackers appeared to have specifically targeted the DNC¹s opposition research unit, which is tasked with compiling unflattering information on Republican opponents to potentially use against them in the course of a political Campaign.

Opposition research could include everything from old press clippings to footage of candidates on the stump recorded by party operatives to obscure legal and tax documents collected through public records Requests.

Much of this sensitive information may never come out during a campaign, and could be of use to the Russian government in seeking to embarrass or apply pressure to targets.

The DNC was first notified about the breach by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which called in computer security company Crowdstrike during the first week of May to investigate the suspected hack.

The story was first reported by the Washington Post. 

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