According to the Wall Street Journal, a “mysterious” cyber attack reportedly struck the computer servers of FreedomWorks, a conservative grassroots organization frequently in the news for its outspoken support for the tea party movement. As the organization launched a major new fundraising initiative Thursday, FreedomWorks officials suspect their computer systems were attacked deliberately:
The attack crippled the site at about 9:45 a.m. just when the fund-raising drive was publicized on the radio by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck. The group estimates it lost about $80,000 in potential donations as it struggled to bring its site back online.
An “autopsy” showed a highly sophisticated hacker struck at 6:55 a.m., the group said, setting the stage for the eventual meltdown. The server was wiped out, though group officials said no data was lost or stolen.
“We think the idea was to take our site down until after the election,” said Kara Pally, web developer for FreedomWorks. “This was politically motivated.”
FreedomWorks’ spokesman Adam Brandon also suggested the computer malfunction was likely caused by external interference. “To us, it’s no coincidence this happened the day our Beck money bomb was announced,” he said. The fundraising “money bomb” was a goal of raising $200,000 between now and the Nov. 2 election to help conservative political candidates facing tough midterm election races. “It‘s like the tea party movement’s been hacked,” Brandon said.