Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FBI is investigating foreign hacks of state election systems

WASHINGTON — Hackers targeted voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that Russian hackers were behind the assault on the election system in that state.

The bureau told Arizona officials that the threat was "credible" and severe, ranking as "an eight on a scale of one to 10," said Matt Roberts, a spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office.

As a result, Secretary of State Michele Reagan shut down the state voter registration system for almost a week in June.

It turned out that the hackers did not succeed in compromising the state system or even any county system, but rather had managed to steal the user name and password for one Gila County elections official.

The revelation comes amid news that the FBI is investigating suspected foreign hacks of state election computer systems, and this month warned states to be on the alert for intrusions.

In Illinois, officials discovered an intrusion into their state voter registration system in July.

The FBI's Aug. 18 warning follows heightened concern over Russian hacks of Democratic Party organizations and possible meddling in the presidential election.

Although the hackers did not alter any data, the intrusion into the Illinois database marks the first successful compromise of a state election database, federal officials said.

Until now, countries such as Russia and China have shown little interest in voting systems in the United States. But experts said that if a foreign government gains the ability to tamper with voter data, for instance by deleting registration records, such a hack could cast doubt on the legitimacy of U.S. elections.

Meanwhile, the recently discovered hacks have state officials across the country scrambling to ensure that their systems have not been compromised. At least two other states are looking into potential breaches, officials said. The two states were not named.

"This was a highly sophisticated attack most likely from a foreign (international) entity," said Kyle Thomas, director of voting and registration systems for the Illinois State Board of Elections, in a message that was sent to all election authorities in the state.

In July, officials in that state discovered the intrusion, in which hackers were able to retrieve voter records. The amount accessed was "a fairly small percentage of the total," said Ken Menzel, general counsel for the Illinois elections board.

State officials alerted the FBI, he said. The Department of Homeland Security also got involved, he said. The intrusion led the state election board to shut down the voter registration system for a week.

FBI is investigating foreign hacks of state election systems 08/29/16 [Last modified: Monday, August 29, 2016 11:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire

    Criminal

    PORT RICHEY

    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, right, along with her mother Tranda Webb, 62, pose for a photograph Wednesday, at their home in Port Richey. Pasco's former boyfriend John Riggins doused Pasco with gasoline and set her on fire after an argument last year.. CHRIS URSO   |   Times

  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps

    College

    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]