Leaked NSA document: Tallahassee-based voter registration software hacked by Russians

Leaked NSA document: Tallahassee-based voter registration software hacked by Russians

"If your goal is to disrupt an election, you don´t need to pick the victor or actually tamper with tally result", said Matt Blaze, a University of Pennsylvania computer science professor who has written on the security of voting machines.

The fraudulent email came through as a gmail.com account, and VR Systems told elections officials that emails from the company "will never come from an '@gmail.com' email address".

The classified National Security Agency report does not say whether the hacking had any effect on election results.

The Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office designed its own software and does not contract with VR Systems. "We don't have evidence that that happened", he said, "but that's a very real possibility".

ELECTORAL RISK The operation described in the document could have given attackers "a foothold into the IT systems of elections offices around the country that they could use to infect machines and launch a vote-stealing attack", said J. Alex Halderman, a University of MI computer scientist.

Before the election, Rice University computer science professor Dan Wallach told MIT Technology Review that poorly secured voter registration databases were the biggest cybersecurity threat facing the US voting system, since many states put them online. Sumter officials did not respond to requests for comment, and it is unclear if they received the email.

The emails packed malware into Microsoft Word documents and were forged to give the appearance of being sent by the system vendor, VR Systems of Tallahassee, Florida.

USA intelligence is still gathering new evidence of Russian cyberattacks before election day.

"The [redacted] actors were probably trying to obtain information associated with election-related hardware and software applications", the document states.

VR Systems' electronic poll books - electronic systems used to verify registered voters at polling places - experienced problems on November 8 in Durham County, North Carolina.

"I think the important thing for the public is that the story is not directed toward our ability to cast and count ballots".

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But she cautioned that the attempted hack, while hitting close to home, did not have any impact on the ballot counting or vote tabulating.

The company added that it had policies and procedures in place to protect their customers.

But in September, the Federal Bureau of Investigation held a conference call with all 67 county elections supervisors in the battleground state of Florida to inform them of infiltration of VR Systems without naming the company.

"We'd like to make sure we go that extra step to make sure the voters in our community are confident in their votes", she said.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla told the Mercury News on Tuesday that his office has found that any other county besides Humboldt County used VR Systems equipment.

Floyd County is one of six IN counties that uses VR Systems, according to a report by the Indianapolis Star.

"A lot of those vendors are quite small", Hall said.

The Mercury News reported that the alleged source of the leaked NSA document was a 25-year-old government contractor Reality Leigh Winner of Georgia.

The leaked top-secret NSA report was only recently completed.

The confidential NSA document dated May 5 was leaked to the online news website The Intercept that same day. Victor faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

"We're getting the opportunity to look at our system in a down time to ensure we don't have nay problems going forward", she said.

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