According to Bloomberg Russia did indeed issue a cyber attack on the U.S.’ 2016 electoral system before Donald Trump’s election win. And their inclusion was far more widespread than what has been publicly revealed.
In the state of Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers were able to access software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.
The details of the cyberattacks were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. According to the valid sources, Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states.
The degree of the attacks bothered the Obama administration officials so much that they took an unprecedented step — complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone.” In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia’s role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.
In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia’s role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.
The new details show clear signs of an alleged hacking that federal investigators are scrutinizing as they look into whether the Trump campaign had any involvement. But they also paint a worrisome picture for future elections: The newest portrayal of potentially deep vulnerabilities in the U.S.’s patchwork of voting technologies comes less than a week after former FBI Director James Comey warned Congress that Moscow isn’t done meddling.
“They’re coming after America,” Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the election. “They will be back.”
A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington declined to comment on the agency’s probe.
According to Bloomberg, after the Obama administration transmitted its documents and Russia asked for more information, the hackers’ work continued. According to the leaked NSA document, hackers working for Russian military intelligence were trying to take over the computers of 122 local election officials just days before the Nov. 8 election.
While some inside the Obama administration pressed at the time to make the full scope of the Russian activity public, the White House was ultimately unwilling to risk public confidence in the election’s integrity, people familiar with those discussions said.