Published: Sun, October 01, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

DHS Was Wrong About Russians Targeting At Least Two States' Election Systems

DHS Was Wrong About Russians Targeting At Least Two States' Election Systems

"California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Thursday DHS notified the state that Russian cyber actors "'scanned' California's Internet-facing systems in 2016, including Secretary of State websites".

Following reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contacted 21 chief state election officials whose election systems were targeted during the recent presidential election cycle, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) issued a statement questioning the timing and response by DHS after multiple attempts to warn DHS of election system vulnerabilities. "The practice of withholding critical information from elections officials is a detriment to the security of our elections and our democracy".

Then on Thursday, Homeland Security said that just because elections systems weren't scanned in some states didn't mean they weren't a target. IL admitted hackers had breached its voter system.

The commission's update Friday was the latest effort to explain fully what happened with the reported Russian run at Wisconsin's systems, and the first to cite intelligence as a foundation for the federal report. DHS communications led the Elections Commission to believe that it had not been targeted, which we announced at the Commission's meeting Tuesday. The Washington Post pointed out that Maryland and North Dakota have yet to comment about "the success or failure of any cyberattack". Also, DHS incorrectly claimed that DET had been notified in October 2016 of the Russian government's involvement in this targeting. Mark Warner, D-Va., the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee - which is also investigating Russian meddling in last year's election.

His statement came before California's announcement and suggested the DHS was wrong about additional states.

Johnson said he was notified by officials in President Barack Obama's administration in September 2016 that Russian Federation had attempted to hack USA elections systems, but at that point, states had been notified and "all was well". "And all states must fortify election systems".

Herb Thompson, one of the state's IT officials, told the Wisconsin Elections Commission that Wisconsin's voter system was not the target.

Remember when states accused DHS of trying to hack their election systems?

If DHS was aware of this in October 2016, then it seems that when the department was accused of trying to hack election systems in several states, that would have been a ideal time to explain why.

"We have to do better in the future", said Sen.

However, Indiana, for example, said it did not give DHS permission, yet "the attempted hacks occurred tens of thousands of time over a period of 46 days".

A variety of intelligence gathered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including some that is secret, led to the conclusion that Wisconsin's elections system had been targeted a year ago by Russian Federation, state election leaders said Friday.

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