June 24, 2017

Leaked NSA report highlights deep flaws in US elections

08 June 2017, 02:11 | Elizabeth Houston

Leaked NSA report highlights deep flaws in US elections

Some states review election systems for signs of intrusion

But they had not said how sophisticated and extensive the effort was or how it worked. "Never once did the thought cross my mind".

Andino's comments came after a federal contractor from Georgia was arrested following the leak of a classified intelligence report that suggests Russian hackers attacked at least one USA voting software supplier days before last year's presidential election. CBS News confirmed the authenticity of the report Monday after the five page document was published by "The Intercept".

US District Court charged a 25 year old intelligence contractor from Georgia, Augusta for copying classified documents and mailing them, leaking them outside of the US.

Multiple law enforcement sources tell CBS News homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues that more US state election databases have been hacked than previously thought. State elections officials said there is no evidence hackers infiltrated supervisor of elections' computer systems or had any impact on the outcome of elections.

As VR stated, these news reports detail an attempt to gain information through the use of Phishing (The fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.) or Spear Phishing (The fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to induce targeted individuals to reveal confidential information.) and highlights the fact "that none of VR systems products perform the function of ballot marking, or tabulation of marked ballots".

"Florida's online elections databases and voting systems remained secure in 2016".

The company added that it had policies and procedures in place to protect their customers. All voting in Florida is done on paper ballots so we can always refer to the original record. If the reader of the email opened the attachment, it would release malicious software that could disrupt the system, according to the NSA document.

The Intercept said the second email, sent around November 1, six days before Election Day and disguised as a routine message from VR Systems, was embedded with weaponized files that would have allowed "vast control over a system's settings and functions".

"We immediately notified all our customers and advised them not to click on the attachment", VR Systems said in a statement.

The "bait" used in the spear-phishing campaign involved software for managing voter registration rolls. Sumter officials did not respond to requests for comment, and it is unclear if they received the email.

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Ertel said his staff is constantly on the lookout for hacking or efforts to subvert the voting process.

"It's just another lesson of the importance of security", he said. "It picks away at the confidence voters have in our voting system".

But the county Office of Elections had a contract with elections company Hart InterCivic, and Hart used VR Systems for its electronic poll books, the devices poll workers use to check in voters at the ballot.

Sancho and other election officials who spoke to the Times/Herald Tuesday said they had not heard any more about the federal investigation until The Intercept's report appeared Monday.

But he pointed out that even if hackers were able to break into voting results, the USA vote-tallying process is so decentralized that it would be nearly impossible to swing an election. He said Moscow categorically denies "the possibility" of the Russian government being behind it.

The document, purportedly produced by the U.S. National Security Agency, does not indicate whether actual vote-tampering occurred.

The the complaint says victor mailed the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet a few days later.

"The only exception in law permits voters with disabilities to vote on accessible equipment that meetings voting system accessibility requirements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, " she said.

Attempts by Russian Federation to "break into a number of our state voting processes" was "broad-based", he said, without offering details.

In an interview with the Herald/Times, Citrus Supervisor of Elections Susan Gill said she, too, recalled receiving it. "But we work very hard and take great pride in the security that we have".

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