According to Center for Public Integrity, the Federal Election Commission was attacked by Chinese Hackers immediately after the government shutdown began, leaving the agency defenseless. In a piece detailing the fact that the entire US political system has been starving the FEC for decades, preventing them from being able to properly do their jobs, the Center for Public Integrity detailed a Chinese hacking attack.
Their article states that three people involved in the hacking investigation confirm that that they were attacked. On October 1st right as the government started to shut down and many federal employees were furloughed, the FEC was attacked by Chinese hackers. Interestingly enough, an independent commission months earlier had found that the FEC’s computer systems were vulnerable and not up to par, even though the FEC disputed these claims stating that their systems were highly secure.
While we still have yet to discover what exactly happened during the hacking attack, the scary thing is that the FEC holds critical records of all of the politicians that have run for government in the past. This could mean that the Chinese are attempting to dig up dirt on certain politicians in order to use something buried deep within the FEC against them. Obviously, this is fairly conspiracy theory heavy in terms of thought process, however, the Chinese government and officials would really have very little to no interest in anything else the FEC has on hand.
The FEC’s job is to record and monitor political campaigns’ expenditures and to make sure that they aren’t breaking any fund raising rules. The Chinese hackers could have theoretically attacked any governmental department other than the FEC, but they specifically picked the FEC during the shutdown. Which could mean that either they were looking for something within the FEC’s records, or there was far more hacking going on during the shutdown that simply hasn’t been discovered yet.