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Democrats Ignored Cybersecurity Warnings Before Theft

  • ‘Breach assessment’ might have exposed hackers on network
  • WikiLeaks release of 20,000 e-mails disrupts party convention

The Democratic National Committee was warned last fall that its computer network was susceptible to attacks but didn’t follow the security advice it was given, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The missed opportunity is another blow to party officials already embarrassed by the theft and public disclosure of e-mails that have disrupted their presidential nominating convention in Philadelphia and led their chairwoman to resign.

Computer security consultants hired by the DNC made dozens of recommendations after a two-month review, the people said. Following the advice, which would typically include having specialists hunt for intruders on the network, might have alerted party officials that hackers had been lurking in their network for weeks -- hackers who would stay for nearly a year.

Instead, officials didn’t discover the breach until April. The theft ultimately led to the release of almost 20,000 internal e-mails through WikiLeaks last week on the eve of the convention.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

The e-mails have devastated party leaders. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chairwoman, has agreed to resign at the end of this week’s convention. She was booed off the stage on opening day after the leaked e-mails showed that party officials tried to undermine the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton, who was formally nominated on Tuesday evening. Party officials are supposed to remain neutral on presidential nominations.

Russia Suspected

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining the attack, which law enforcement officials and private security experts say may be linked to the Russian government. President Barack Obama suggested on Tuesday that Russia might be trying to interfere with the presidential race. Russian officials deny any...