Did the Trump Organization Use a Private Server to Communicate with a Bank in Russia?


On the hunt for malware, a group of computer scientists say they stumbled upon a server registered to the Trump Organization in Manhattan that they believe secretly communicated almost exclusively with a bank in Moscow.

After it was reported that Russian hackers had gained access to the Democratic National Committee’s servers, the computer scientists decided to look into whether other servers were also hit. “We wanted to preserve the integrity of the election,” one participant, who asked to remain anonymous because of his line of work, told Slate. In July, a computer scientist with specialized knowledge of the domain name system (DNS) found what appeared to be malware coming from Russia, with “Trump” in its destination domain. After keeping track of the Trump server’s DNS activity, he realized the server was communicating during office hours in New York with two servers registered to Alfa Bank in Moscow.

The computer scientists shared what they learned with Christopher Davis, a cybersecurity expert, who said the Trump server “looked weird, and it didn’t pass the sniff test.” After digging through logs, they found that the server was first registered in 2009 and set up to run consumer marketing campaigns, but now was only able to accept incoming communication from just a few IP addresses, with 87 percent of the DNS lookups involving the Alfa Bank servers. After looking at the logs, DNS code expert Paul Vixie concluded that “the parties were communicating in a secretive fashion,” he told Slate. “The operative word is secretive. This is more akin to what criminal syndicates do if they are putting together a project.”

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Source: The Week | Catherine Garcia