Russian hackers believed to have breached Clinton Foundation computers

Clinton Foundation Breached by Russian Hackers, Cyber Experts Assert

Russian hackers are believed to have breached the computers of the Clinton Foundation — and appear to be the same cyber spies who swiped confidential files from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton campaigns, officials familiar with the investigation told NBC News.

Three private security firms have concluded the hackers are Russian, and some security experts say Russian intelligence could be behind the attacks and want to interfere in the U.S. presidential election.

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So what could be the hackers' end game?

The Democratic National Committee said the operation was part of a Russian disinformation campaign. But some U.S. officials believe the goal is something more menacing: espionage.

A spokesman for the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation — the charity founded by the former president that supports humanitarian causes — said it has not been notified of any cyber attack.

Bloomberg first reported Tuesday that the Clinton Foundation had been penetrated, citing three people familiar with the matter.

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Supporters John Nelson, 32, (L) and Dan Stifler, 32, cheer U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she arrives to speak on stage at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters cheer on U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks during a campaign stop in Sacramento, California, United States June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporter Monica Brown pins a Hillary Clinton button to her 2008 Hillary campaign t-shirt as she prepares for the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clintons visit to at a small restaurant in Vallejo, California, United States June 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake ATTENTION EDITORS - EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Supporters await the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in Fresno, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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Supporters cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at a high school in Oxnard, California, United States June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters hold a sign as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters during a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Supporters cheer on U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as she speaks at a campaign stop in San Bernardino, California, United States June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A young supporter cheers as she awaits the arrival of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at a "Women for Hillary" event in Culver City, California, United States, June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A supporter wears a sunglasses adorned with logos of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A supporter listens as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Supporters listen to Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at a campaign event in San Jose, California, U.S. May 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Women cheer for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter cheers as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Supporters listen to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at the UFCW Union Local 324 in Buena Park, California, U.S. May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Marlena Steinbach, 9, (L) and her sister Ella Steinbach, 15, cheer the motorcade of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton outside the IBEW union hall where Clinton was due to speak in Commerce, California, U.S., May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Artist Gretchen Baer of BisBee, Arizona, stands next to the "Hillcar", a car she painted and decorated in support of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as she stands on a street in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S. April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE
Six-year-old Kayla Johnson (C) her mother Andrea (L) and friend London Walters (R) react as U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton enters the Garrick-Boykin Human Development Center at Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill
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TOPSHOT - A car with the face of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders drives past a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Broad Street during Pennsylvania's primary election on April 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Voters cast ballots in five northeastern states, with frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both looking to overwhelm their respective Democratic and Republican rivals in the race for the White House. / AFP / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attend a "Women for Hillary" campaign rally in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S. April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A supporter fans herself as Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Southwest College in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A supporter holds up an action figure of Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before Clinton spoke at Southwest College in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 06: Supporters look on as democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally on May 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in California ahead of the State's presidential primary on June 7th. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters after a town hall meeting at Cumberland United Methodist Church in Florence, South Carolina February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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A hacker using the moniker "Guccifer 2.0" also released a new trove of documents Tuesday apparently taken from the DNC during a hack last week. Crowdstrike, the firm brought in by the Democrats to deal with the hack, was one of the firms attributing it to Russian intelligence agencies, which Russia denied.

"The attackers used advanced intrusion techniques to avoid detection and discovery. They were looking for information on policy, political campaigns and strategies, foreign policy plans," Crowdstrike said in a statement.

This latest document dump, which comes after Gufficer 2.0 took responsibility for the DNC breach, included an internal assessment of issues over which the DNC thought Clinton was likely to be attacked on.

A Clinton campaign official told NBC News that it still has no evidence that its computers were specifically violated.

"However, what appears evident, is that Russian interests are trying to influence the outcome of the election," the official said.

Cyber experts told NBC News they believe Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian front, and also said the leaks show that Russia is seeking to influence the U.S. presidential campaign, perhaps with an eye toward helping Donald Trump.

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"There has never before been a direct intervention in American politics by a foreign power that was this bold and went to these lengths," said Scott Borg, director of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, an independent nonprofit that assesses the impact of cyber attacks.

But three U.S. officials told NBC News that the U.S. intelligence community hasn't determined that Russia is engaging in a wholesale attempt to interfere with the American election.

The cyber attack against the Clinton Foundation comes after Guccifer, a Romanian hacker who first exposed Clinton's private email address, said in May that he also gained access to the former Secretary of State's "completely unsecured" server. The hacker, Marcel Lehel Lazar, pleaded guilty in a U.S. courtto related charges that same month.

It's not clear whether those Guccifer-related leaks were orchestrated by Russian intelligence agencies as a way of specifically inflicting damage on the Clinton campaign, the U.S. officials said.

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