Published: Fri, June 09, 2017
Medical | By Ismael Lynch

Alleged Russian hack reveals a deeply flawed election system

Alleged Russian hack reveals a deeply flawed election system

The intelligence report revealed by The Intercept showed a cyberattack that targeted more than 100 local election officials and software vendors, raising the prospect of an attempt to manipulate votes.

Security experts have warned for years that hackers could penetrate electronic voting systems, and now, leaked national security documents suggest a concerted effort to do just that in the 2016 U.S. election. In Arizona and IL, election officials reported breaches of voter registration databases but said systems involved in counting votes were not affected.

SC doesn't use the voting system mentioned in recent reports on alleged Russian hacking of US voting software. Apparently exploiting technical data obtained in that operation, the cyber spies later sent phishing emails to more than 100 local USA election officials just days ahead of the November 8 vote, intent on stealing their login credentials and breaking into the their systems, the document says.

"The Department [of State] participated in an informational call with the Federal Bureau of Investigation related to elections security at the end of September 2016 where they alerted officials for the need to maintain security measures, but there was no indication of a Florida-specific issue".

ABC7 has confirmed that the Russian government tried to hack into the Collier County Election's Office computers, just days before the 2016 presidential election.

In a statement the Florida Division of Elections says the state's voting system is secure, largely due to efforts in decentralization, a strong paper trail, and efforts to keep the systems offline. Still, the disclosure of the NSA document has prompted a review of election security, he said. The software is not used to tabulate voting results.

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Lee and Charlotte counties said they did not receive the malicious email.

The 122 email addresses may have been obtained from VR Systems data, the NSA document said.

Humboldt officials used VR Systems equipment during the November election, but are no longer using it, Sanders said.

"Bottom line is that owning any part of a county election office backend system is a VERY powerful platform for an attacker", Blaze said on Twitter. The county used the software to sign in voters. Federal Bureau of Investigation and DHS continue to work closely with state officials to assist them in safeguarding their election infrastructures.

Stimson said she didn't understand why local officials hadn't been warned already, especially as the ability to share exactly that kind of intelligence warning had been touted as one of the main advantages of the critical infrastructure designation. It outlines efforts by hackers described as "actors" of the Russian GRU intelligence agency to compromise the online accounts and computers of companies providing state and local governments with voter registration technology. "It makes me feel like we're under attack a little bit", Mello said. To date, no evidence of tampering with vote tallies or registration rolls has been discovered. Stimson added that officials didn't get any additional resources to defend their networks as a result of the January 2017 announcement by the Department of Homeland Security, which many saw as a federal power grab. He said the intrusion had been traced to some servers in the Netherlands and he heard speculation of Russian involvement.

Homeland Security made the same offer to all states, through the National Association of Secretaries of State, she said. The NSA employs thousands of private contractors for its work and victor was one of those contractors who released the report. Associated Press writers Frank Bajak in Houston; Sophia Bollag in Sacramento, California; Michael Virtanen in Morgantown, West Virginia; Alan Suderman in Richmond, Virginia; and Sophia Tareen in Chicago contributed to this article.

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