Hackers targeted other systems to find weak spots

Scott McConnell, a Homeland Security spokesman, said "discussions of specific IP addresses do not provide a complete picture of potential targeting activity".

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

Even though hackers from the Russian government didn't directly scan election systems in 21 USA states, that doesn't mean Moscow wasn't looking to break in, the Department of Homeland Security said after complaints about inaccurate reporting. We have all learned many important lessons and DHS officials have apologized and promised to improve their communications with state and local elections officials.

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.

Virginia officials told the Free Press on Tuesday that while hackers may have tried to break into the state's system, they were not able to change a person's vote or alter election results. "While I understand that DHS detects thousands of attempted cyber attacks daily, I expect the top election officials of each state to be made aware of all such attempted intrusions - successful or not - so that they can strengthen their defenses, just as any homeowner would expect the alarm company to inform them of all break-in attempts even if the burglar doesn't actually get inside the house".

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Homeland Security officials have said that in most of the 21 states only preliminary activity was observed from hackers and a small number of networks were compromised.

Back in June, DHS cybersecurity official Jeanette Manfra admitted that DHS discovered in early October "that internet-connected election-related networks, including websites, in 21 states were potentially targeted by Russian government cyber actors".

In Wisconsin, the DHS said it was the state's Department of Workforce Development that was targeted.

But Russian hackers did try to worm into a network run by the California Department of Technology.

"Based on this additional information, California voters can further rest assured that the California Secretary of State elections infrastructure and websites were not hacked or breached by Russian cyber actors". He noted that some of the intelligence used to make that determination can not be shared publicly. But officials told the AP the hackers were believed to be Russian agents. We will continue to work with DET and DHS to protect Wisconsin's elections into the future.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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