Federal agents arrested a man in California on Friday for computer hacking attacks that disrupted a Democratic congressional candidate’s website in California in 2018.
The man, Arthur Dam, is married to a former fundraiser for the campaign by former MP Katie Hill, which won the race for the 25th district of California, according to a lawsuit.
Hill later resigned after her nude photos were posted on a conservative blog and allegations of inappropriate relationship with employees surfaced.
Dam is accused of carrying out distributed denial-of-service attacks against one of Hills’ opponents. In such an attack, a website is overloaded with traffic, causing it to crash and go offline.
Hill said she was “surprised and upset” by the news.
“I have no information or knowledge of the alleged behavior,” she said in a written statement. “These allegations in no way reflect the thousands of honest, hard-working employees, volunteers and supporters who have worked on my campaign and to whom I owe so much.”
According to the Central District of California U.S. Attorney General, the dam will be released for a $ 25,000 bond. The indictment is scheduled for March 19. USA TODAY has contacted his lawyer.
The lawsuit states that the attacks were traced back to Dam’s Amazon Web Services account, which he had logged into at the time of the attacks.
Federal Election Commission records show that Dam donated hundreds of dollars to Hill’s campaign, including a contribution that says “Benefits in kind: advice on graphic design and website security.”
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Democrat Bryan Caforio, a California lawyer who lost less than 3,000 votes to Hill in the area code, said he was the target of the attack. His website has been reportedly compromised during a candidate debate that is noted in the complaint.
According to the complaint, the four attacks shut down the website for a total of 21 hours.
“The victim reported losses, including website downtime, a reduction in campaign donations, and the time campaigners and others spent responding to critical incidents,” the complaint said.
Caforio told USA TODAY that he worked with the FBI investigation. He said he was “shocked and sad” when he found out who the FBI said was responsible.
“Of course Russia was on everyone’s lips after 2016,” said Caforio, referring to his reaction at the time. “It is really disappointing to see that this actually goes back to a Democrat, and it is really a dark reminder that not only Russia is a threat to our democracy.
“There are bad actors on all sides who are willing to do anything for their own personal gain and we as Americans have to come together to defend our country.”
The lawsuit alleges that the URLs that send traffic to Caforio’s website appear to be from the US TODAY, Google, and Engadget, “which are all legitimate information companies.” However, the referring URLs on these websites did not exist, which indicates that they were forged.
Caforio said he could not be sure whether his website’s downtime had contributed to his low primary loss, but said his campaign had used significant resources to address the issue.
“You never know what ultimately made the last difference,” he said. “In key parts of the election, our campaign spent days and resources not talking to voters, but dealing with this criminal attack.”
The 25th district of California covers parts of northern Los Angeles County and extends to Ventura County. It was represented by Republicans more than two decades before Hill’s victory in 2018, which was considered a swing district race.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Arthur Dam, the wife of Katie Hill, a former fundraiser, is being charged with hacking