Published: Fri, March 02, 2018
Tech | By Constance Martin

Feds reject NBC report on Russia's election hacking

Feds reject NBC report on Russia's election hacking

The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election - but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials.

Steven Sandvoss, who heads the State Board of Elections, said at a news conference Wednesday that state officials have been working with DHS to bolster IL electronic database and that they told him the threat of another Russian attack "is still very real". President Barack Obama had ordered the intelligence during the final weeks of his presidency, NBC News reported.

The report didn't specify which states had their elections systems breached, so the Buzz asked state officials and local elections officials then if they knew whether Florida had been one of the states hacked.

"All state and federal officials who spoke to NBC News agree that no votes were changed and no voters were taken off the rolls", that paragraph said.

Federal intelligence officials never told the states, though some were informed that a foreign entity attempted to probe their systems but didn't disclose it was Russian Federation.

Every one of the states except IL continues to deny that their systems were compromised.

Officials with the Department of Homeland Security didn't elaborate on the other targeted states.

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Six of the seven states that officials said were targeted deny they were breached, based on their own investigations, NBC News reported.

According to NBC, "A spokesperson for Florida's secretary of state, Mark Ard, said the state was informed by DHS in September 2017 that Florida had been targeted by hackers in 2016".

In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security called the report "factually inaccurate and misleading".

The piece, headlined "U.S. intel: Russian Federation compromised seven states prior to 2016 election", came with a push notification to mobile phones that alerted subscribers to the scoop.

The elections commission says the state of Wisconsin's online system, including elections, are well-protected by the state's Division of Enterprise Technology.

The state's chief election official, Michael Haas, responded to the NBC report with a statement insisting the state's election systems are secure. In almost all states, only preparatory activity like scanning was observed. A June 2017 Intercept report based on a leaked National Security Agency classified document (remember Reality Winner?) detailed Russians' gambit to hack a private vendor that supplied voter registration software, and try to obtain information from more than 100 USA local election officials. Security experts say, however, that hackers can use non-election-related entry points to gain access to voter systems.

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