Russian Federation compromised U.S. election systems in 7 states
02 March, 2018, 02:49 | Author: Darrell Baldwin
US intelligence agencies found evidence that Russian-backed covert operatives compromised state websites or voter registration systems in seven states before the 2016 election, but did not tell the states the Russians were involved. Even though they had the evidence, the report claims USA intelligence never told the states about it. Three intelligence officials told the news outlet that then-President Barack Obama requested a report on hacking attempts on the United States election system in the last weeks of his presidency, and that was the analysis they gave him.
News cited three senior intelligence officials, who said Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin were all targeted. Six of the seven states told NBC they denied being breached by a foreign entity, citing findings from their own cyber investigations.
Department of Homeland Security officials and states have frequently disagreed on the extent of Russian intrusion into their systems during the 2016 election cycle. While the exact nature of the compromise in the states remains unknown, intelligence officials maintain that no vote or information was changed or altered. That fragmented system could be seen as a benefit, because hackers can't compromise the whole system with one attack.
Officials with the Department of Homeland Security didn't elaborate on the other targeted states.
"This seems to be either old news or incorrect news", Michael Haas, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said of the report.
Houlton, with Homeland Security, says "In almost all (of the 21) states, only preparatory activity like scanning was observed". Only Illinois election officials have confirmed a breach, allowing foreign hackers to access 90,000 voter registration records.
DHS notified election officials around the country in September about whether their voting system had been directly attacked.
NBC reported the US intelligence community, in this case, defines "compromised" as actual entry into election websites, voter registration systems and voter look-up systems. "We believe tonight's story to be factually inaccurate and misleading", he added. In almost all states, only preparatory activity like scanning was observed.
"NBC News reached out to all seven states that were compromised, as well as 14 additional states the Department of Homeland Security says were probed during the 2016 election". "In almost all states, only preparatory activity like scanning was observed". But hackers likely aren't trying to gain access to election infrastructure just for kicks, and the Russians (or other nefarious actors) could exploit those same vulnerabilities if the U.S. doesn't take adequate action. We have extensive procedures to secure our information, with multiple layers of security which include a combination of people, processes and technologies to help us conduct secure, trustworthy and accurate elections.
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