Leaked NSA report highlights deep flaws in US elections
- Author: Carolyn Briggs Jun 10, 2017,
Jun 10, 2017, 13:54
State and local election officials across the country reported numerous hacking alerts a year ago from suspicious emails sent to their systems, including at least eight Florida counties that received one tied to what USA intelligence officials say was a Russian effort to disrupt the presidential campaign.
"They're so common we usually don't worry about them unless we get an alert, and those come in from our association of elections supervisors or the National Security Agency". Last week alone, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that Russia had interfered in foreign elections saying "We never engaged in that on a state level, and have no intention of doing so".
Eight states used the voter registration software that was said to be hacked.
The email looked like it came from the company which manages voter registration for the county. The others are Florida, California, Indiana, New York and West Virginia.
In the report, intelligence officials outline how days before the election, Russian hackers attempted to trick local election officials into opening a corrupt document.
So far, there is no indication that voting or ballot counting in any states were affected.
They are investigating reported attempts to compromise VR Systems, an electronic poll book software company used by 21 of North Carolina's 100 counties.
A U.S. intelligence officer cautioned The Intercept reporters-and the rest of us-against what the website described as "drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive". Still, her office was contacting county boards about potential breaches. A leaked intelligence report claims Supervisor of Elections offices in Hillsborough, Pasco and Citrus counties were targeted by hackers prior to last year's election. All voting in Florida is done on paper ballots so we can always refer to the original record.
"We do not believe there was any interference in actual voting machines or the final tally", senator Warner said, adding "I do not believe they got into changing actual voting outcomes". Still, the disclosure of the NSA document has prompted a review of election security, he said.
The vendor hack in Florida prompted the Federal Bureau of Investigation to coordinate an emergency call with county election supervisors who operate the election system in the perennial battleground state.
Humboldt County's connection to VR Systems comes through the Texas-based company Hart InterCivic, Sanders said.
FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.
The efforts were detailed in a recently leaked report attributed to the U.S.
The report describes just one phishing campaign, which hit state officials a week before the election, but does not give any locations or say if it was successful.
Lewis said she and a few others in the office were targeted on November 7, the day before the election won by Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
VR Systems produces the voter registration software which collects personal voter data. Some have now speculated that that vendor was VR Systems.
An FBI spokeswoman said the bureau and the Department of Homeland Security hosted a conference call with Florida state officials to address questions regarding the security of election systems and to share information regarding the general nature of the cyberthreat. "A startling 58 percent of Democratic voters believe Russian Federation actually tampered with vote totals in order to get Trump elected - an outlandish conspiracy theory that remains unsupported by evidence".