Network Security

DHS notifies 21 states they were targets of Russian hackers


Oklahoma, Alabama, Colorado, Virginia, Connecticut, Washington, Iowa, Wisconsin, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Ohio, appear to be among the 21 states whose officials were told by The Department of Homeland Security Friday that their election systems had been the targets of hackers representing the Russian government. 

The states had pressed for confirmation that their systems had been in the crosshairs of Russian hackers. 

"We heard feedback from the secretaries of state that this was an important piece of information," the Washington Post quoted Bob Kolasky, acting DHS deputy undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, as saying. "We agreed that this information would help election officials make security decisions."

Calling the delay in notification "unacceptable," Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., said in a statement that he was "relieved that DHS has acted upon our numerous requests and is finally informing the top elections officials in all 21 affected states that Russian hackers tried to breach their systems in the run up to the 2016 election."

Pledging that his committee would continue its "bipartisan investigation into what happened in 2016" and "determine what steps we need to take to stop the next attack on our democracy," Warner stressed that “All 50 states need to be proactively strengthening the security of their election systems in the face of this threat."

DHS did not initially release the names of those states affected but the Associated Press and others have offered a partial tally.

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