TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -According to a Saturday report by the Associated Press, the affected web addresses included donaldtrump.org, donaldtrumpexecutiveoffice.com, donaldtrumprealty.com and barrontrump.com, and were hijacked over August and September of 2013.
The Trump Organization denied the domain names were ever compromised. But a review of internet records by the AP and cybersecurity experts reveled they were actually compromised.
However, it was not until this past week, after the Trump camp was asked about it by the AP, that the compromised addresses were repaired.
After the hack, computer users who visited the Trump-related addresses were unwittingly redirected to servers in St. Petersburg, Russia, that cybersecurity experts said contained malicious software commonly used to steal passwords or hold files for ransom.
It is not known whether the hackers are the same ones who stole Democratic officials' emails and embarrassed the Democratic Party in the heat of the campaign last year, which at the time provided much needed political ammo for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
The attacks took place as Trump was preparing to travel to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant, which was held on November 9, 2013, at a property owned by a wealthy Russian real estate developer.
Many of the addresses were not being used by Trump. Businesses and public figures commonly buy addresses for possible future use or to prevent them from falling into the hands of rivals or enemies. The Trump Organization and its affiliates own at least 3,300 in all.
In a declassified report released in January, the intelligence community concluded that Russia helped with the Trump’s campaign effort ahead of winning the White House, an allegation dismissed both by Moscow and Trump.
The US president is now being accused of obstructing justice in the investigation process, in part due to dismissing the FBI director at the helm of the probe.
Allegations of Moscow-led hacking of US politicians and party infrastructures intended to influence political outcomes, especially the country’s 2016 presidential election, have intensified conflicts between Russia and the US.
The diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington turned sour in late 2016, when the US administration expelled a number of Russian diplomats and closed two Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland over Moscow’s alleged meddling in the US presidential election.
In July 2017, the US Congress imposed new sanctions on Russia. The move prompted Moscow to reduce US diplomatic personnel numbers in Russia to 455.