Russians 'Successfully Penetrated' Some States' Voter Systems, Says Top US Official

Nellie Chapman
February 8, 2018

Russians penetrated multiple states' voter registration rolls in the 2016 presidential election, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security told NBC News on Wednesday.

"We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated", Jeanette Manfra, the Department of Homeland Security's head of cybersecurity, told NBC News in a report published on Wednesday.

The opening paragraph of the story read: "Nearly half of the states in the USA have recently had their voter registration systems targeted by foreign hackers, and four of those systems have successfully been breached, sources tell ABC News".

It was not clear which state rolls had been hacked into.

Officials said then that most of the targeting amounted to mere preparations for hacking, such as probing for vulnerabilities.

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The U.S. intelligence community unanimously concluded after the election that Russian Federation meddled in the election in a deliberate effort to undermine American democracy and elect Donald Trump.

The attempted intrusions were aimed at targeted online systems including registration databases, not the voting itself or tabulation machines used on Election Day. He has also yet to unambiguously acknowledge that Russian Federation interfered in the election to get him elected. There was no evidence that any registration rolls were compromised. Five states, including Texas and California, said they were never attacked.

Before leaving his post in January 2017, Johnson designated the electoral systems a part of the U.S.'s federally protected "critical infrastructure", making it the department's official duty to safeguard them.

"If it's their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that".

"I think it's important we just continue to say to Russia, 'Look, you think we don't see what you're doing". We do see it and you need to stop. "'If you don't, you're going to just continue to invite consequences for yourself'".

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