Alleged Russian hack reveals a deeply flawed election system

Election software vendor part of attempted Russian cyber-attack has contracts in Indiana

Joe Canciamilla, the clerk-recorder and registrar of voters in Contra Costa County - which has no connection with VR Systems - said in an interview that the episode could encourage jurisdictions to spend more on technology to protect voting data. Sanders said two state agencies offered to assist with any future services should any gaps be found in the county's security systems, which she said was reassuring. Leon Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley says local systems are secure, but the threat is not to be taken lightly. "There is no evidence that any of the phishing emails were received by the staff in the county". "There was no evidence that we were hacked or anything like that".

Election supervisors in Citrus and Clay counties told the Herald/Times on Tuesday that they got the emails, but no official opened them. "However, due to the sensitive nature of the discussions we can not comment further".

Then, on October 31 or November 1, hackers sent emails to 122 email addresses associated with local governments from a fake address purporting to be VR Systems.

The NSA document states that at least one of these attempts was successful and that the operatives created an email address posing as a VR Systems employee.

So far six counties admit to an attempted hacking by the Russian Federation. The NSA memo notes that it is unknown whether these phishing emails successfully compromised any of the target emails.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any effort to influence the 2016 United States election.

A VR Systems spokesperson did not respond to a question about which California counties had contracts with the company.

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VR Systems provides electronic voter check-in software to 64 of Florida's 67 counties. "They did not provide any information specific to VR Systems".

That would include voters' addresses, signatures, social security numbers, and drivers license numbers, Edwards said. "Additionally, voting machines are not connected to the internet".

When asked if they were sloppy with the attempted hack, she said absolutely. "Even the computers we scan the ballots on, that's a separate computer than what we tabulate the results on". "Unless, someone goes in and begins to remove names from the voter registration system, when people show up to vote, forcing them to cast a provisional ballot or something that nature".

Hall said systems could be vulnerable because localities that manage elections rely on private software sellers that may lack resources against a well-funded cyber adversary.

"VR [Systems] seemed to think that very few of their customers received the phishing emails", Sanders said.

It was part of an attempt to hack a Florida company, VR Systems, based in Tallahassee, which is involved in voter registration for much of the state. In a statement, the company said it only knows of a "handful" of customers who received the fraudulent email, adding that it had "no indication" that anyone had clicked on the malware. Snipes said the company immediately identified the problem when contacted.

In a statement, VR Systems said its employees "immediately notified all our customers and advised them not to click on the attachment" when the company was first notified of the email. The issue forced officials to abandon the system, issue paper ballots and extend voting hours.

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"When it comes to the technical side of things, you have to have some kind of a back-up that you can rely on", Snipes said.

Storm said that this filtration system is not foolproof, but said that is where the county's intrusion prevention system would kick in and block it.

"I remember thinking to myself, 'wait a minute, they wouldn't be sending out an updated user guide now, it would make no sense..."

Andino said Tuesday she has not been contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in reference to voting irregularities here.

Victor is still in federal custody, and she will have a detention hearing on Thursday.

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 documents' authenticity has been confirmed by U.S. officials, and the U.S. Department of Justice charged on June 5 charged victor.

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