LOS ANGELES (WNCN) – Remember the big scandal in 2016 when the emails belonging to the then-chairwoman of the democratic national committee were hacked and then released by WikiLeaks? 

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz ended up stepping down from that position after the emails revealed she preferred Bernie Sanders as the nominee over Hillary Clinton.

Since then, foreign adversaries have become smarter, bolder and more determined. It goes back even further than 2016.

“In 2004 they didn’t collect information on a then relatively unknown state legislator in Illinois who was running for the Senate, and then four years later Barack Obama becomes the most important person on the planet,” Adam Clayton Powell, the executive director of the University of Southern Califronia Election Cybersecurity Initiative, said.

Powell has been warning election officials and campaigns across the country, including those in North Carolina.

He said foreign intelligence doesn’t want that missed opportunity with Obama to happen again.

“They’ve all taken that lesson to heart,” Powell said. “So now they’re breaking into campaigns certainly at the statewide level, at the congressional level but even lower to try to vacuum up information about future American leaders. Information they can use about them or against them.”

Think of how fast technology has advanced since the Clinton-Trump race. Sometimes it’s as simple as a password that’s too easy for an algorithm to solve.

Powell is telling folks that multiple authentications is key.

On a positive note, he also said if a foreign enemy is trying to change an election it’s difficult to do partly because the U.S. has more than 8,000 election districts.

What is easy though, is spreading lies and falsehoods on the internet, and there’s a reason for it.

“What’s much easier for a foreign adversary to use disinformation and misinformation to cast doubt on the very electoral process itself. To cast doubt on democracy. They do it in other countries, they do it here,” Powell said.