Alaska among states compromised before 2016 election

Alaska among states compromised before 2016 election

USA intelligence agencies found evidence that Russian-backed covert operatives compromised state websites or voter registration systems in seven states before the 2016 election, but did not tell the states the Russians were involved.

Federal intelligence officials never told the states involved, NBC News reported.

Intelligence officials told former President Barack Obama, during his final weeks in office in January 2017, that Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin's voting systems were each compromised in some way by Russia, NBC News reported Tuesday.

The article also notes that according to classified intelligence documents, the intelligence community defines "compromised" as actual entry into election websites, voter registration systems and voter look-up systems.

"We have an extreme sense of urgency on ensuring security of the 2018 elections, because you don't get a chance to do it over", Alex Padilla, California's secretary of state, told NBC News, adding there was no evidence the state's electoral system was hacked.

With the midterms just eight months away, election officials said they're working to prevent another such attack.

"Election security is a top priority for our agency as we continue to employ effective and forward-thinking cybersecurity measures to further strengthen our state's elections systems and safeguard against any malicious cyber activity", Pablos said.

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In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security called the report "factually inaccurate and misleading".

The NBC News report details intrusions in at least seven states where Russians didn't just poke around but are said to have "made it through the door".

IL is one of 14 states that requested a risk assessment of its electronic database.

"They have assured us that they are not aware of any other attempts - successful or unsuccessful - to breach Wisconsin's system".

Several of the states affected by the compromise were informed as such by officials in Washington during the lead up to the November election, but none were told the Russian government was behind the hijackings. She said no information was shared at the meeting to contradict the state's September announcement that its website had been scanned but not compromised. Once again, reports using anonymous, outdated, and incomplete information are being misconstrued as fact.

Tuesday, Josie Bahnke, the director of Alaska's division of elections, released a statement saying the state had no information to suggest the earlier-announced attack was successful. Alaskans have a right to know exactly what occurred, if there were illegal entrances into our system during the election process, and to what extent it may have tainted Alaska's election or Alaskans' data.

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