Leaked NSA doc highlights deep flaws in US election system
Jun 08, 2017, 02:12
But the report filled in a lot of details about how Russian hackers targeted the vendor in order to pose as one of its employees and then sent phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials using that assumed identity.
NSA documents leaked by Reality Leigh Winner, however, contradict Obama's claims as election-related hacking efforts continued until just days before the election.
Humboldt County, population 136,000, might not seem like a top target for the Russians.
Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel said his office did receive the phishing email and took measures to make sure they were not impacted. We have dug a cyber moat around the data so we can ensure access of sensitive information and systems by only those granted access.
But she cautioned that the attempted hack, while hitting close to home, did not have any impact on the ballot counting or vote tabulating.
In the report, intelligence officials outline how days before the election, Russian hackers attempted to trick local election officials into opening a corrupt document.
The incident has now placed Humboldt County into larger global conversations regarding Russian interference into the 2016 US presidential election as well as a potential crackdown on federal leakers by President Donald Trump's administration.
The NSA document says Russian military intelligence first targeted employees of a Florida voting systems supplier in August.
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.
By now I'm sure you've read the numerous reports of the recently leaked NSA report on Russian Hacking and hopefully you have taken the time to read the statement released by VR Systems.
The current Duval County Supervisor of Elections said Duval County did not receive any phishing emails and said Jacksonville has good software to weed out potentially unsafe emails.
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Sanders said that VR Systems and Hart InterCivic contacted her to offer assistance. Although there may have been many others, security experts said one coming so late in the game would be more likely to be about sowing chaos than trying to alter vote counts.
Snipes said if someone were ever able to successfully intrude on the voting system in the state, officials also have an effective, low-tech fail-safe.
"There is no evidence of any breach of elections systems in California", Padilla said in an email. Early says VR systems sent out an alert about the phishing scam on November first.
"We immediately notified all our customers and advised them not to click on the attachment", VR Systems said in a statement. "We have multiple safeguards in place to protect against elections fraud and prevent any possible hacking attempts from being successful".
The New York Times, at the time, reported that "the president made it sound like that worked", noting Obama's claim that "we did not see further tampering of the election process".
VR Systems officials did not respond directly to questions emailed by the AP.
County Clerk, Recorder and Registrar of Voters Kelly Sanders and Information Technology Division Director Jim Storm said they spoke with officials from the two state offices over the phone to discuss the county's current cyber-security systems.
USA intelligence agencies have previously said the Kremlin tried to influence the election outcome in favor of Republican candidate Donald Trump through leaks during the campaign of hacked emails from Democratic Party officials, aimed at discrediting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Appel said that if ballots are manipulated within a voting machine, "it won't be obvious, people won't know about it" unless there is an audit or recount.
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