The Department of Homeland Security has notified two states that Russian hackers attempted to scan networks other than their election systems in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, contrary to details provided last week. On Wednesday, California became the second state — after Wisconsin — to receive the clarification. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement that homeland security officials told him the scanning activity took place on the state technology department’s network and not on the Secretary of State website, as the state was told last week. “Our notification from DHS last Friday was not only a year late, it also turned out to be bad information,” Padilla said in a statement. He said the public and officials who oversee elections “deserve timely and accurate information” from Homeland Security.
Last week, the department notified election officials in 21 states that their systems were targeted last year “by Russian government cyber actors seeking vulnerabilities and access to U.S. election infrastructure.”
Most systems were not breached, and there is no evidence of actual tampering with voter registration databases or ballot tallies. In Illinois, however, hackers penetrated the voter registration network and spent three weeks rooting around before being discovered in July 2016. But officials said no information was changed.