One of the public’s unanswered questions about Russia’s attempts to break into election systems last year was which states were targeted. On Friday, states found out. The Department of Homeland Security said earlier this year that it had evidence of Russian activity in 21 states, but it failed to inform individual states whether they were among those targeted. Instead, DHS authorities say they told those who had “ownership” of the systems — which in some cases were private vendors or local election offices. State election officials were finally contacted by federal authorities on Friday about whether their election systems were among those targeted for attack last year by Russian hackers. State election officials have complained for months that the lack of information from the federal government was hampering their efforts to secure future elections. “We heard that feedback,” says Bob Kolasky, acting deputy undersecretary for DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate. “We recognize that it is important for senior state election officials to know what happens on their state systems.”
On Friday afternoon, DHS placed individual calls to the top election official in each state and six U.S. territories to fill them in on what information the agency has about election hacking attempts in their state last year. It will be up to the election officials to decide whether to share what they learn with the public.
… Only two state election security breaches last year have been made public so far. Hackers were able to gain access to the records of tens of thousands of voters in Illinois’ centralized registration database, but there is no sign any records were deleted or changed. Russian hackers also gained access to the password and other credentials of a county elections worker in Arizona. Again there is no evidence that records were altered.