With the US election less than two months away, recent attempts to hack election data systems have prompted some officials to say that Russia could be trying to manipulate the race. But is such a thing likely? Or are the claims just propaganda? The cyber attacks on voter registration systems in Arizona and Illinois late last month were blamed by some anonymous officials on Russia, and followed a high-profile hack of Democratic Party computers that resulted in a cache of emails being released by WikiLeaks. While the voter registration hack resulted in the theft of only a single username and password, the FBI is investigating.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter also issued an implicit warning to Moscow last week while in Europe. “We will not ignore attempts to interfere with our democratic processes,” Carter said. Asked later to elaborate, Carter said he was referring to Russia’s “interference in the internal affairs of nations, short of war”.
… Lisa Monaco said election systems were not connected to the internet and were diffusely operated by state and local governments. “That makes it extremely disparate, extremely diffuse and, as a consequence, extremely difficult to have an effect across the board that would result in a change in results,” Monaco said.
The bigger worry, she said, involved efforts to sow “concern or confusion” about the resilience of the system.