One day after reports the FBI had warned states of potential hacks on their election systems, Director James Comey declined to address the bureau’s investigation, simply insisting he takes the matter “very seriously.” The FBI alert — sent Aug. 18 and revealed publicly on Monday — sparked fears that recent cyberattacks on voter databases in Illinois and Arizona were harbingers of a nationwide hacking assault on state voting systems, possibly linked to Russia. “It won’t surprise you that I’m not going to give an answer that touches on any particular matter we’re looking at,” Comey said Tuesday at a conference hosted by digital security firm Symantec.
Multiple security researchers and former FBI officials said the bureau’s alert showed signs that investigators may suspect a government-backed hack. Many worried that meant the intrusions were part of a suspected Russian attempt to meddle in the U.S. election.
Moscow-backed hackers have already been blamed for leaking embarrassing documents and emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have alleged the efforts are part of a Kremlin plot to install GOP rival Donald Trump in the White House.