The Department of Homeland Security on Friday notified the 21 states that it says Russian government hackers tried to breach during the 2016 election. Alabama, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin have all confirmed that DHS had said they were among the states targeted. But all four said the breach attempts were unsuccessful. In total, a DHS official said only a few networks were successfully breached, and none of those networks involved vote tallying. “DHS notified the Secretary of State or other chief election officer in each state of any potential targeting we were aware of in their state leading up to the 2016 election,” DHS spokesman Scott McConnell told POLITICO.
Democratic lawmakers have pressed DHS for months to tell states if they were targeted as part of what intelligence officials said was a Kremlin-ordered campaign to undermine the 2016 U.S. elections. The department resisted, saying it regularly kept victim information secret when it worked with partners in various critical infrastructure sectors, such as banking or health care.
“Recognizing that state and local officials should be kept informed about cybersecurity risks to election infrastructure, we are working with them to refine our processes for sharing this information while protecting the integrity of investigations and the confidentiality of system owners,” McConnell said.
“We will continue to keep this information confidential and defer to each state whether it wishes to make it public or not,” he added.