California, Wisconsin deny election systems targeted by Russian hackers

DHS Was Wrong About Russians Targeting At Least Two States' Election Systems

The State Elections Commission met in Madison Tuesday to discuss claims the Department of Homeland Security made regarding concerns of a potential system breach back in 2016.

In both California and Wisconsin, the hackers could've been aiming for election systems even though they targeted other departments.

"Our notification from DHS last Friday was not only a year late, it also turned out to be bad information".

In 2016, Russian government cyber actors unsuccessfully targeted Wisconsin's voter registration system.

Wisconsin election officials on Wednesday released an email from DHS that said the IP address targeted was at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, not the state's elections commission.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that Wisconsin was one of 21 states that Russian Federation attempted to hack during the 2016 election. The formal notification came after months of state election officials voicing frustration that the department had left them and the public in the dark for so long.

Earlier in the week, state officials in Wisconsin and California confirmed receiving conflicting reports from the DHS about which of their computer systems may have been targeted by hackers during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The confusion that stemmed from a September 22 call between elections commission and Homeland Security officials has been "an unnecessary distraction from the fact that Wisconsin's systems are secure and have not been breached in any way", elections commission chair Mark Thomsen and administrator Michael Haas said in a statement issued on Friday.

McConnell says the department stands by its assessment that 21 states were targeted by "Russian government cyber actors" looking for vulnerabilities in and access to election infrastructure.

Asked about the latest statement from DHS, Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said the agency was reviewing it.

Richmond Voter Registrar J. Kirk Showalter said no systems were hacked in the city.

In most cases, the states had not known until notified by DHS Friday.

Elsewhere, California Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted, "DHS in future must notify states of attempted election hacking in real time, not a year later". Officials said there was no evidence that the hackers had changed any information. A DHS spokesman said, "When DHS conducts a cybersecurity scan of a network or system, we do so only with the cooperation and consent of the system owner". Warner stated. "Our elections are the bedrock of our democracy ..."

Homeland Security first told state elections officials last Friday that Wisconsin was one of the states targeted.

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