Federal Government Notifies 21 States of Election Hacking

Most systems weren't breached ahead of 2016 election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 22, 2017 6:13 PM CDT
Federal Government Notifies 21 States of Election Hacking
This Oct. 14, 2016 file photo shows Hillary Clinton's and Donald Trump's names printed on a ballot on a voting machine.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The federal government on Friday told election officials in 21 states that hackers targeted their systems last year, although in most cases the systems were not breached, the AP reports. The government said last year that more than 20 states were targeted by hackers believed to be Russian agents before the 2016 elections. But for many states, the calls Friday from the Department of Homeland Security were the first official confirmation of whether their states were on the list. States that said they were targeted include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The government did not say who was behind the hacking attempts or provide details about what had been sought. But election officials in three states said the attempts could be linked to Russia. The Wisconsin Election Commission, for example, said the state's systems were targeted by "Russian government cyber actors." Federal officials said that in most of the 21 states, the targeting was preparatory activity such as scanning computer systems. The targets included voter registration systems but not vote tallying software. Officials said there were some attempts to compromise networks but most were unsuccessful. Only Illinois reported that hackers had succeeded in breaching its voter systems. Colorado said the hacking wasn't quite a breach. (Read more Election 2016 stories.)

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