The Department of Homeland Security contacted election officials in 21 states Friday to notify them that they had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the 2016 election campaign. Three months ago, DHS officials said that people connected to the Russian government tried to hack voter registration files or public election sites in 21 states, but Friday was the first time that government officials contacted individual state election officials to let them know their systems had been targeted. Officials said DHS told officials in all 50 states whether their systems had been attacked or not. “We heard feedback from the secretaries of state that this was an important piece of information,” said Bob Kolasky, acting deputy undersecretary for DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate. “We agreed that this information would help election officials make security decisions.”
He said it was important that the states shore up their systems now “rather than a few weeks before” the 2018 midterm elections.
Kolasky said that DHS will henceforth “have a bias to get information to [the states] as quickly as we can, and we are building protocols to notify them in a timely fashion.”