The Democratic National Committee contacted the FBI on Wednesday claiming that someone tried to hack its voter database system this week, and, within hours, had to retract their claim.
The New York Times reported that officials described the alleged attempt to hack their system, Votebuilder, as an “aggressive” attack, claiming that the “hackers set up a fake page that mimicked the party’s login page for its voter-registration website, a tactic that could gather names, passwords and other credentials of those using the voter database.”
Bob Lord, chief security officer for the Democratic National Committee, said, “This attempt is further proof that there are constant threats as we head into midterm elections, and we must remain vigilant in order to prevent future attacks.”
Late on Wednesday, Democrats were forced to retract their claims after new information came to light and now say that the alleged “hacking attempt” was nothing more than a “test.”
“We, along with the partners who reported the site, now believe it was built by a third party as part of a simulated phishing test on VoteBuilder,” Lord said in a new statement. “The test, which mimicked several attributes of actual attacks on the Democratic party’s voter file, was not authorized by the DNC, VoteBuilder nor any of our vendors.”
The development comes after Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson claimed that “the Russians are in Florida’s records” — a claim that has caused significant problems for Nelson.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI both shot down Nelson’s false claim — which comes as he is trying to save his seat in the U.S. Senate — stating that “there is no current evidence to suggest any meddling in the upcoming midterm elections in November,” according to Fox News‘ reporting of a letter they obtained from both government agencies.