dglobalnews.com Alleged Russian hack reveals a deeply flawed election system
Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Medical | By Benjamin Edwards

Alleged Russian hack reveals a deeply flawed election system


A national intelligence report said Russian military agents tried to hack the Collier County computers along with Hillsborough, Pasco, Citrus, Clay, and Volusia counties.

A federal contractor, 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner, was arrested and charged Monday with leaking the classified information.

And it underscores the contention of security experts and computer scientists that the highly decentralized, often ramshackle US election system remains profoundly vulnerable to trickery or sabotage.

The Intercept, a digital magazine founded by journalists involved in the release of documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, said some material was withheld at USA intelligence agencies' request because it wasn't "clearly in the public interest".

USA intelligence officials had previously stated that Russian intelligence had won access to "multiple" election officials but had said that compromised machines were not involved with vote tallies.

The new revelations suggest that USA investigators are also still probing a more direct attempt to attack the election itself, and a federal official confirmed that is the case.

According to an AP analysis of the document's contents by University of MI computer scientist J. Alex Halderman, the actions taken by the Russian hackers could have theoretically enabled them to "steal" votes by directly targeting electronic voting machines.

"We do feel very confident that the system that we have in place is working", Sanders said.

SC doesn't use the voting system mentioned in recent reports on alleged Russian hacking of US voting software.

Attempts by Russian Federation to "break into a number of our state voting processes" was "broad-based", he said, without offering details.

Russian Federation denied Tuesday that it attempted to hack US voting software.

This information was included in a highly classified report by the National Security Agency. Analysts at the NSA believed the hackers were working for the Russian military's General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, according to the document.

Andino's comments came after a federal contractor from Georgia was arrested following the leak of a classified intelligence report that suggests Russian hackers attacked at least one US voting software supplier days before last year's presidential election.

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The emails packed malware into Microsoft Word documents and were forged to give the appearance of being sent by the system vendor, VR Systems of Tallahassee, Florida. However, there is no evidence that hackers were able to manipulate votes, or the vote tally.

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. The attack sketched out in the NSA document appears designed specifically to cope with that sprawl.

On Nov. 1, VR Systems sent emails to almost all county supervisor of elections officials warning them not to open the attachments after the company was alerted to the hacking by a customer.

VR Systems says it was alerted to the danger by a client, and the company advised its clients not to open the suspect email.

"We are only aware of a handful of our customers who actually received the fraudulent email and of those, we have no indication that any of them clicked on the attachment or were compromised as a result", it reads.

The company makes software for on-site voter registration at polling stations and backend systems for voting management, according to its website, which says it has customers in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

IN state election officials tell CBS4 six counties - Cass, Floyd, Montgomery, Vanderburgh, Vigo and Wayne - contract with VR Systems to manage their electronic poll books.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla said his office hasn't found any other counties besides Humboldt that used VR Systems equipment so far.

Someone trying to cause chaos and discredit an election could delete names from registration rolls prior to voting — or request absentee ballots en masse.

Former President Barack Obama said at a year-end news conference in December that Russian meddling in the election came to a halt after he told Russian President Vladimir Putin to "cut it out".

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