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Santa Monica Man Who Hacked Campaign Website Sentenced


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By Jorge Casuso

February 1, 2024 -- A Santa Monica man was sentenced Thursday for hacking into the computer of a Congressional Democratic candidate in 2018 that set off a domino effect resulting in Republicans regaining the key seat.

Arthur Dam, 35, who pleaded guilty in October to a federal count of damaging the computer of a Democratic primary challenger to candidate Katie Hill was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

Dam's wife worked as a fundraiser for Hill, who eventually won the seat in California's the 25th Congressional District before resigning after nude photos of her were published and a sex scandal surfaced involving a campaign staffer.

Republican Mike Garcia would win the 2020 special election to fill the seat in a District that includes parts of northern Los Angeles County and extends into Ventura County. Garcia was reelected in 2022.

Dam was arrested by federal agents in February 2020 in connection to four cyberattacks carried out from his Santa Monica home and Venice workplace that took down Democrat candidate Bryan Caforio's campaign website, according to the criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court.

“Dam was found to be connected to the cyber attacks through subscriber information, IP addresses, geolocation history, and open sources, including through his employer and his wife, K.O., who worked for one of the Victim’s opponents,” according to the criminal complaint.

The cyberattacks took place during a five-week span in April and May 2018, including one that was carried out hours before the primary's biggest debate and a week before the June election.

Prosecutors said the denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks were traced to Dam's Amazon Web Services (AWS) account, which he logged into from his home and workplace at the time they took place.

"The victim reported suffering losses, including website downtime, a reduction in campaign donations, and time spent by campaign staff and others conducting critical incident response," according to the complaint.

Caforio claimed the attacks contributed to his loss. He finished a close third behind Hill in the non-partisan primary for the key Republican-held seat targeted by the Democratic party.

According to a report in Rolling Stone, which broke the story, they were the first reported instances of multiple cyberattacks on Democratic congressional candidates during the 2018 midterms.

The attacks, in part, prompted the nation’s four top law enforcement and national security agencies to release a joint statement blaming "Russia, China and other foreign actors" for interfering in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

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