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Russian hackers targeted Minnesota's elections website

Russian hackers targeted Minnesota's elections website

The state Elections Commission said DHS told it that Russian hackers scanned Wisconsin's internet-connected election infrastructure likely seeking specific vulnerabilities such as access to voter registration databases.

Department of Homeland Security officials told 21 states on September 22 that their election systems were breached by Russian hackers. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said the attempted hack had no effect on the 2016 election. It also hired and IT security firm before the 2016 election to review security measures and rebuild the department's website on a more modern and secure platform, Simon said Friday afternoon.

The states that told AP they had been targeted included key political battlegrounds, such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The Colorado Secretary of State's Office said in June that it does not think it was targeted by Russian-backed hackers. "He said that Colorado systems were scanned", Timmons said.

"There is a strong possibility that the reason we are on the list is we notified them in the first place", Schliep said, adding that it shows the office is ahead of the ball.

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Election officials in Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico and North Carolina said their states were not targeted by hackers.

Haas said he was seeking more information from Homeland Security. Russian hackers also gained access to the password and other credentials of a county elections worker in Arizona.

Earlier this year, a leaked National Security Agency report also detailed attempts by Russian military intelligence to infiltrate an election software vendor's computer and to use that information to send emails containing malicious software to up to 122 local election offices. "While I understand that DHS detects thousands of attempted cyberattacks daily, I expect the top election officials of each state to be made aware of all such attempted intrusions, successful or not, so that they can strengthen their defenses-just as any homeowner would expect the alarm company to inform them of all break-in attempts, even if the burglar doesn't actually get inside the house". "Finally finding out this information from DHS allows the chief elections officials to move forward on this matter".

In the majority of the states, the Department of Homeland Security only saw preparations for hacking, like scanning to find potential modes for attack.


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