Report suggests Russia hackers breached voting software firm

On or about May 9, victor printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it.

The report, published online by The Intercept, does not say whether the hacking had any effect on election results.

Russian government hackers within the country's intelligence service masqueraded as an e-voting vendor in an email to trick local USA government employees into opening documents that were "invisibly tainted with potent malware", The Intercept reports. Additionally, the attackers launched a "spear-phishing" attack on local government officials in charge of voting in some areas.

IL election officials acknowledged to The Washington Post past year that they discovered "an intrusion" into the state's election system in July, months before the November election.

Still, the report - dated May 5, 2017 - outlines how Kremlin hackers in August of 2016 used phishing scams to target at least seven employees at VR Systems Inc. The intrusion in IL led to a week-long shutdown of the voter registration system.

In the wake of the elections board issue, Gov. Bruce Rauner in mid-March released a new "strategic vision for cybersecurity" aimed at protecting all IL computer systems from hackers.

US intelligence agencies declined to comment Monday on The Intercept report.

The Intercept reports that according to the NSA, the attempts went on for months and lasted until just days before the November 8 vote. A leaked, top secret NSA report shared by the Intercept reveals that Russian intelligence agencies hacked the manufacturer of U.S. voting systems. The test emails appeared to be sent to accounts that appeared to be associated with American Samoa's Election Office.

US intelligence agencies including the NSA and CIA have fallen victim to several thefts of classified material in recent years, often at the hands of a federal contractor.

U.S. intelligence officials tell CNN that the information has not changed the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, which found: "Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple USA state or local electoral boards". The Department of Homeland Security "assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying".

The report masked the name of the software vendor, referring to it as "U.S. Company 1", in keeping with standard minimization rules for intelligence reports based on surveillance. "A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive", The Intercept said.

Reality Leigh Winner, a federal contractor charged by the US Department of Justice for sending classified material to a news organization, poses in a picture posted to her Instagram account.

The 25-year-old government contractor who allegedly leaked top secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents to a news outlet didn't do a very good job trying to cover her tracks.

Titus Thomas Nichols, Winner's attorney told NBC News that his client has no previous criminal record and that she is "looking forward to putting this behind her". He also declined to name the federal agency for which victor worked.

- Winner was a linguist in the US Air Force in Maryland who speaks Pashto, Farsi and Dari, her mother, Billie Winner said. "All this craziness has happened all of a sudden".

The affidavit states that an "Intelligence Community Agency" was contacted by a "News Outlet" about an upcoming story on May 30. The unnamed agency then conducted an internal audit to determine who had recently printed the materials in question, and found six people who had.

Rosenstein helped prosecute one of them, a case against James E. Cartwright, a retired four-star Marine general and a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff accused of disclosing classified information to reporters. Garrick said investigators found victor had exchanged email with the news outlet using her work computer.

About an hour after the Intercept published a top-secret document stolen from the US National Security Agency yesterday (June 5), the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had arrested a suspected leaker.

  • Zachary Reyes