Hackers probed election systems in 39 states

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Russian hackers have attacked 39 states in the US during the presidential election. After an examination during last year’s election, according to a new report from Bloomberg. In some cases the attackers even gained access to state-level voter roll data. Compromising records on as many as 90,000 voters in the election system.

The compromise seems to have been Illinois compromised in late July 2016. According to Bloomberg’s report, attack signatures from the Illinois attack detected in 37 other states. Including critical election managers in Florida and California. Not each of those signature hits necessarily indicates a compromise. But it suggests a broad, concerted effort to compromise US election systems. Russia’s military intelligence tried over the computers of 122 local election officials

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Using evidence from the Illinois computer banks. Federal agents were able to develop digital “signatures”. Among them the Internet Protocol addresses used by the attackers to spot the hackers at work. As the National Security Agency analysis recently leaked by contractor Reality Winner suggested, the attackers also gained access to software used by poll workers to check voter eligibility. In another unnamed state, attackers accessed a campaign-finance database.

Affected state databases rather than the county-level data

Several months of hacking failed to give the attackers the access they needed to master. America’s disparate voting systems spread across more than 7,000 local jurisdictions. Contractor who works two or three days a week at the state board of elections detected unauthorized data leaving the network. According to Ken Menzel, general counsel for the Illinois board of elections. The hackers had gained access to the state’s voter database. obtained information such as names, dates of birth, genders, driver’s licenses and partial Social Security numbers on 15 million people. Half of whom were active voters.

There’s still no evidence that the attacks compromised the vote tallies or election results in any state. The attackers came closer to the voter registration databases. In theory, altered to strategically erase registrations. But the compromises described by Bloomberg only affected state databases rather than the county-level data that’s used by polling places, and the distributed nature of the US election system seems to have prevented them from reaching further. There is no indication that any voting machines compromised.

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The news comes on the heels of a leaked NSA report, which detailed direct attacks on an election contractor in Florida, as well as various online absentee services. The alleged source of that report, an NSA contractor named Reality Leigh Winner, was arrested on federal charges shortly before the report became public

 

 

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