Miércoles, 12 Diciembre, 2018

Russian hacking of voter data was way bigger than you thought

Sean Rayford  Getty Images Sean Rayford Getty Images
Danilo Martir | 13 Junio, 2017, 20:14

"They will be back", former FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee last week.

Consider two things: several months of hacking may not have been enough to figure out how to most effectively disrupt voting across 7,000 local jurisdictions, but Russian Federation now has until November 2018, or November 2020, to master that. Just how big was the state-run operation, and were any other major tools (aside from Britney Spears' Instagram account) involved?

In Illinois, there is evidence of attempts to delete voter data, access to software used by poll workers on the day itself and at least one finance database was breached. There is no evidence that the hackers tampered with the actual vote, and according to Bloomberg, the Obama administration really feared, at the time, that the hackers were more likely to delete voters from the rolls, or slow down vote tallying, which would undermine overall confidence in the US electoral process without changing the final results.

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See the story, "Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known".

But experts say that the Russian hackers could have influenced the outcome of the election without directly altering vote totals. In July 2016, a contractor working for the IL state board of elections first detected data "leaving the network". It is estimated that the details of some 90,000 voters could be affected with data including names, dates of birth, gender, driving licences and partial social security numbers potentially compromised.

It amounts to 39 states targeted, three people with direct knowledge of the USA investigation have claimed, according to Bloomberg.

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When the federal government sent alerts about the IL intrusion to other states, 39 total found evidence of hacking attempts.

In Illinois, investigators also found evidence that the hackers tried but failed to alter or delete some information in the database, an attempt that wasn't previously reported. Asked if there were any private briefings for state election officials on possible Russian interference prior to the November 2016 voting, Merrill said, "No". "The Homeland Security Department dispatched special teams to help states strengthen their cyber defenses, and some states hired private security companies to augment those efforts".

Relations with Russian Federation remain strained. Obama added that he risked setting off a "broader conflict".

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The "red phone" wasn't literally a phone, but a secure messaging channel for " urgent messages and documents", according to Bloomberg.

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