Compromise of U.S. presidential campaigns in 2008
Date of report
  • November 2008
In 2008, a foreign entity waged cyber espionage operations against the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain. Phishing emails sent to top campaign aides delivered malware, allowing threat actors to exfiltrate data from both campaigns. U.S. intelligence officials believe that Chinese threat actors were seeking internal policy papers in order to gain leverage with the winner of the election. This was the first time that a foreign actor was discovered exfiltrating large quantities of information from a U.S. presidential race for potential use by a foreign government.
Suspected victims
  • Obama Campaign
  • McCain Campaign
Suspected state sponsor
  • China
Type of incident
  • Espionage
Target category
  • Civil society
Victim government reaction
  • Unknown