(AP/CBS 42) — The federal government is telling election officials in at least 21 states that hackers targeted their systems last year, although in most cases the systems were not breached.
States that told The Associated Press they had been targeted include Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. In most cases, they had not known until notified Friday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill released information Friday via email:
Over the course if [sic] the election season, the MS-ISAC’s (Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center) Albert network monitoring service identified scanning activity from suspicious IP addresses against 27 states and received reporting of potential incidents in 13 states. In total, three national events were confirmed prior to election day and had a limited impact on election day activities. More specifically, in the states, the cyber threat actor(s) gained access to voter registration data for a few local governments. There were no reports that any data was modified.
In Alabama, DHS and the MS-ISAC observed suspicious traffic from IP addresses connected to election-related activity, but not necessarily to election-related activities in these states. This information shows Alabama’s system protections and preparations were successful in thwarting attempted hackers from breaching state networks and voting systems during the attacks.
Homeland Security officials tell the AP that in September hackers believed to be Russian agents targeted voter registration systems in more than 20 states.
“While it is encouraging that our efforts to protect Alabamians’ data have proven to be successful, we must remain vigilant and prepared for the constantly evolving threats to our voting systems and the integrity of those processes. We will utilize every resource available to ensure we are protecting the data of all Alabamians,” said Secretary Merrill.
The disclosure to the states comes as a special counsel probes whether there was any coordination during the 2016 presidential campaign between Russia and associates of Donald Trump.
Trump won the election and calls the Russia story a hoax.