KEY POINTS

  • One of President Trump's campaign websites was briefly defaced Tuesday
  • Hackers asked visitors to make payment in Monero before releasing confidential information about the president
  • The Trump campaign denied that any sensitive information was stored on the website

Hackers managed to deface one of President Donald Trump's campaign websites briefly, while attempting to solicit the cryptocurrency Monero from visitors of the site.

On Tuesday night, Trump's campaign message was removed briefly from the website, donaldjtrump.com, and was replaced by a message stating "this site has been seized," along with FBI and Department of Justice logos. The site was restored within 30 minutes. 

The hackers claimed they accessed multiple devices and obtained sensitive information, including secret conversations and classified files that would prove the president had a hand in the origin of the coronavirus. 

They also claimed to have obtained evidence that would prove the president's criminal involvement and cooperation with foreign actors in manipulating the 2020 elections. 

The attackers asked site visitors to tell whether they wanted the classified information to be released or not. For this, the visitors were told that they had to make a payment to one of two Monero wallets, one labeled "Yes, share the data," the other labeled "No, do not share the data."

Monero is a cryptocurrency valued for its privacy and harder-to-track transactions. To add legitimacy, the hackers also posted their encryption keys, but those point to an email address from a website that is not live, Cointelegraph reported.

Tim Murtaugh, communications director of the Trump campaign, said no sensitive data was stored on the site.

The defacement appeared to be an ordinary cryptocurrency scam to get people to send in payments. However, with U.S. elections approaching, this hack was especially alarming. Cybersecurity experts said it's possible that the site's administrator was tricked through a phishing attack, The New York Times reported. Intelligence agencies have been monitoring hacking groups that tried to break into election-related systems, the Times article said.

Last week, Dutch researcher Victor Grevers said he had successfully accessed Trump's Twitter account, although Ian Plunkett, the social media network's spokesperson, said there was no evidence of that.

US President Donald Trump, seen here at a rally in Pennsylvania on Monday, claimed the US was 'rounding the corner'. US President Donald Trump, seen here at a rally in Pennsylvania on Monday, claimed the US was 'rounding the corner'. Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB