Alaskan Election Officials Question Reports of Russian Breach

Russia breached 7 states' voter rolls before election: report

The report names Wisconsin as one of seven states in which the USA intelligence community "developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems. were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election". That's according to an NBC News report Tuesday, citing multiple US officials.

But DHS pushed back, saying in its statement: "We have no intelligence - new or old - that corroborates NBC's reporting that state systems in seven states were compromised by Russian government actors". "They have assured us that they are not aware of any other attempts - successful or unsuccessful - to breach Wisconsin's systems" beyond two previously reported attempts that were unsuccessful.

Authorities in the states affected - Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin - told NBC that U.S. intelligence officials informed them about the attacks but didn't say Russian Federation was behind them. Six of the seven states told NBC they denied being breached by a foreign entity, citing findings from their own cyber investigations. At the time, federal officials acknowledged that a number of the attempts were successful but did not say in which states.

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

"In response to NBC's questions, we double-checked with (the Department of) Homeland Security and our other cyber security partners", Haas said. It said the systems in the seven states were compromised in a variety of ways, including entry into state websites and penetration of voter registration databases. There have been no reports of voting machines being successfully hacked, and a scenario in which hackers influence an election by changing votes is "nearly impossible", Manfra said. Only Illinois election officials have confirmed a breach, allowing foreign hackers to access 90,000 voter registration records. Earlier this month, the agency rebuffed an NBC report claiming Russian hackers had "successfully penetrated" United States voter systems before the election.

Federal officials said late Tuesday that NBC's report was "factually inaccurate and misleading". 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. DHS also noted that states were also told to look out for "general efforts to disrupt the elections process", including on social media, Sandvoss said. "In almost all states, only preparatory activity like scanning was observed".

"It's got nothing to do with actually changing a vote, but you try to get into these different systems, because people don't understand necessarily how all of these pieces are very disconnected", Manfra said.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission wants to reassure voters that their information is secure.

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