Russian elections interference was more widespread than US officials thought

Russian elections-hacking operations hit 39 U.S. states last year, twice as many states as intelligence reports had first indicated, according to Bloomberg.
By James Carlin | Jun 15, 2017
Russian elections-hacking operations hit 39 U.S. states last year, twice as many states as intelligence reports had first indicated, according to Bloomberg. Sources said that Russian hackers infiltrated voter databases and software systems and in some cases attempted to alter or delete voter data.

Illinois investigators uncovered cyberattacks that had hacked into the state's voter database. The hackers reportedly gained access to names, drivers' license numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal data of as many as 90,000 registered voters.

According to a state election official, the state processes voter registration applications. So hackers who infiltrate the state's database could potentially manipulate newly registered voters' records. There is no indication that the hackers succeeded in altering any voter records, however.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied that his government was involved in any hacking. He conceded this month that Russians may have hacked U.S. voting systems but suggested that it was "patriotic minded" private Russian hackers who acted without any state support.

However, then-President Obama reportedly contacted the Kremlin in October over evidence of Russian attempts to interfere in the elections. And a bill now awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate that punishes Russia with sanctions for its alleged elections interference is expected to pass with wide bipartisan support.

Former FBI Director James Comey warned in his Senate testimony last week that Russian hacking would resurface in more elections to come. He told the Senate to expect more attempts to sabotage U.S. election processes.

"They're coming after America,"Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee, whicj is investigating Russian interference in the election. "They will be back."

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