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Alleged Democratic National Committee hacking attempt was actually embarrassing false alarm

What the Democratic National Committee thought was a hacking attempt was actually a security test by the Michigan Democratic Party. Tom Perez is the chairman of the DNC. (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

What was first portrayed as a malicious hacking attempt on Democratic National Committee voter information turned out to be the doing of a state's Democratic Party, not a foreign adversary.

As it turns out, the "hack" was really a security test organized, unbeknownst to the DNC, by the Michigan Democratic Party and performed by security personnel from a group called DigiDems, according to The Washington Post.

"We, along with the partners who reported the site, now believe it was built by a third-party as a part of a simulated phishing test on VoteBuilder," DNC Chief Security Officer Bob Lord said on Thursday. "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."

What happened?

The DNC announced Wednesday that it had stopped an attempted hack of voter information.

The attempt was a fake login page, which would allow the alleged hackers to gather names and passwords for those who use the voter database.

Lord portrayed the attempt as evidence that election security is a severe issue, and also called on the Trump administration to take it more seriously.

"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," Lord said at the time.

"These threats are serious, and that's why it's critical that we all work together, but we can't do this alone," Lord continued. "We need the administration to take more aggressive steps to protect our voting systems."

How did this happen?

Apparently, the Michigan Democratic Party authorized this test without notifying the Democratic National Committee, and that failure of communication led to a situation that Michigan Democrats said they were "a little embarrassed" about.

Lord said the DNC would work on issuing guidance to prevent similar communication lapses in the future.

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