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Homeland Security: Russia targeted US elections systems in 21 states before 2016 Presidential election

United States Department of Homeland Security
June 21, 2017

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that Russia went after elections-related systems in 21 states prior to the 2016 Presidential election, but that those systems were not involved in vote tallying.


“We have evidence of election-related systems in 21 states that were targeted,” said Jeanette Manfra, who is the acting deputy under secretary for cybersecurity and communications at DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, according to a report.

Officials would not identify which states were targets, but Manfra said “system owners” in the respective states were made aware of the Russian action.

The acting director of the DHS Cyber Division, Dr. Sam Liles, said “the activity by Russian hackers exploiting known vulnerabilities was indicative of ‘simple scanning,’ an act he compared to someone ‘walking down the street to see if you are home,’ ” according to CBS News.

“A small number of networks were exploited – they [Russia] made it through the door,” Liles said, according to CBS.

And while that did happen, Liles pointed out that “[none] of these systems were involved in vote tallying,” CBS reported.

The Senate committee is investing Russia’s alleged hacking of the most recent Presidential election. The hearing on Wednesday was the sixth public hearing surrounding this investigation.

Earlier this month, former FBI Director James Comey testified under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia “no doubt” intervened in the 2016 Presidential elections.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating that a foreign adversary “attacked us right here at home” and has “highjacked our most important Democratic process,” according to Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia who is the vice chairman of the committee.