US Hackers Infiltrate Russian Systems Ahead of Election Day

Ready to respond in kind over any 'significant' cyberattack
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2016 1:03 PM CDT
US Ready to Retaliate for Russian Cyberattack on Election
Trays of completed ballots sit near long tables of election judges during a media tour of the Denver Elections Division headquarters Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(Newser) – US military hackers are ready should Russia try any cyber shenanigans during the election Tuesday, NBC News reports. Senior intelligence sources say the US has successfully hacked into various Russian systems, including command systems at the Kremlin, telecommunications networks, and the electric grid. Officials describe this as "preparing the battlefield." Officials say they would only use the US' advanced cyber weapons against Russia if it attacks the US "in a significant way," something that's not expected. Rather, officials are expecting something along the lines of "cyber mischief."

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It would be very difficult for hackers outside the US to change the outcome of the election, as the election itself is too decentralized, the Verge reports. According to the Los Angeles Times, officials don't think there's any way Russia could change vote returns or mess with counting. However, it definitely could do things to damage people's confidence in vote tallies. That includes faking documents and otherwise spreading misinformation. One hacker US officials say is a front for Russian intelligence already tweeted they were going to monitor the election "from inside the system." And it sounds like if Russian hackers go too far on Election Day, the US military is ready to respond in kind. (Read more Election 2016 stories.)

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