A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack took down California Democratic congressional hopeful Bryan Caforio’s website just hours before he stepped onto the debate stage to face fellow Democrats.
“As I saw firsthand, dealing with cyberattacks is the new normal when running for office, forcing candidates to spend time fending off those attacks when they should be out talking to voters,” Caforio told Rolling Stone, which first reported the attack and three others on the candidate’s campaign website.
Caforio came in third in the top-two primary by just a few thousand votes.
The website was inaccessible for about 21 hours throughout the primary season.
Reports of the attacks on Caforio’s campaign website “demonstrate how easy it is for malicious actors use DDoS attacks to disrupt or potentially influence the outcome of what is supposed to be an unbiased process,” said Sean Newman, director of product management at Corero Network Security. “Every time the website was offline there was potential for significant impact to the democratic process, denying voters access to key information or resources needed to allow the process to run as intended.”
The campaign reported the attacks to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). While it is not yet clear who the culprit is, Rolling Stone said an AWS server was used to execute the pre-debate attack.
“Governments themselves and anyone participating in their democratic elections, need to ensure they have effective protection in place to fully safeguard that democratic process,” said Newman.