The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials.
The FBI warning, contained in a “flash” alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections.
Those concerns prompted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to convene a conference call with state election officials on Aug. 15, in which he offered his department’s help to make state voting systems more secure, including providing federal cybersecurity experts to scan for vulnerabilities, according to a “readout” of the call released by the department.
Johnson emphasized in the call that Homeland Security was not aware of “specific or credible cybersecurity threats” to the election, officials said. But three days after that call, the FBI Cyber Division issued a potentially more disturbing warning, titled “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems.” The alert, labeled as restricted for “NEED TO KNOW recipients,” disclosed that the bureau was investigating cyberintrusions against two state election websites this summer, including one that resulted in the “exfiltration,” or theft, of voter registration data. “It was an eye opener,” a senior law enforcement official said of the bureau’s discovery of the intrusions. “We believe it’s kind of serious, and we’re investigating.”
Though the bulletin does not name the states that were hacked sources are saying that they were Illinois and Arizona.
The document also does not come out and name Russia as the perpetrators of these actions, but in light of the previous hacks it stands to reason that they might be involved.
If true about Russia this would be perhaps the most blatant attempt by a foreign power to alter the outcome of an American election in this country's history.
Newsweek posted an article yesterday that lays out Putin's game plan:
“The target of the hacks wasn’t just Clinton,” Eerik-Niiles Kross, the former head of Estonian intelligence, wrote in a recent essay in Politico. “Nor is Moscow much interested in supporting Trump (willing useful idiot though he may be). What the Russians have in their sights is nothing less than the democratic fabric of American society and the integrity of the system of Western liberal values…. The political warfare of the Cold War is back—in updated form, with meaner, more modern tools, including a vast state media empire in Western languages, hackers, spies, agents, useful idiots, compatriot groups, and hordes of internet trolls.”
In other words, Trump is merely a useful stooge in the Kremlin’s grand design to encourage NATO disunity, U.S. isolationism and the breakup of Europe. In practice, all the effort of Russian-sponsored hackers, think tankers and propaganda channels is unlikely to have much real effect and on balance have probably harmed Trump’s chances of getting into the White House. But the effort is real. As Kross put it, “Russia is effectively using our democracies and our systems of rule of law against us…. America, welcome to the war.”
"A useful stooge" as if we needed yet another reason to keep Trump out of the White House.