Critical Infrastructure Security, Network Security, Critical Infrastructure Security, Network Security, Threat Management

Campaign staffer’s husband arrested for DDoSing former Rep. Katie Hill’s opponent

The husband of a campaign staffer for former Rep. Katie Hill, D-CA., was arrested by the FBI for allegedly launching four DDoS attacks against the former congresswoman’s primary opponent.

Arthur Dam was arrested on February 21 by FBI agents and charged with one count of intentionally damaging and attempting to damage a protected computer. In the criminal complaint filed in the Central District of California, the FBI claimed the Dam conducted the attacks while his wife, who was not named, worked on Hill’s campaign staff.

The complaint did not name the victim, but it did indicate the candidate was male and according to Ballotpedia the only male running in the California's 25th District Democratic primary was Brian Caforio. He lost his primary bid by just under 3,000 votes.

The attacks took place between April and May 2018 with the site being down for a total of 21 hours, the FBI said in a release, with the victim claiming $27,000 to $30,000 in damages incurred in repairing the damage, buying extra security and lost donations.

“The attack on or about April 28, 2018, occurred just before the start of a live political debate, which featured the Victim and his two opponents. This attack shut down the Victim’s website and it remained offline throughout the debate,” the criminal complaint stated.

The attacks were conducted using an AWS account that the FBI said was controlled by Dam. Agents discovered that each attack was proceeded by logins to the AWS account from Dam’s home or office and cookies from the account were found on Dam's iPhone. The attacks were associated with URLs spoofing USA Today, Google, and Engadget web pages.

Dam has a cybersecurity background with the complaint stating he runs DDoS attacks as part of his job as a pen tester.

The FBI did not claim that either Hill or Dam’s wife were involved in the incidents.

Hill, who won her seat by defeating incumbent Stephen Knight in 2018, resigned from Congress in October 2019 after admitting she had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a staffer before being elected to Congress, The Hill reported.

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