Hackers targeted voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that Russians were behind the assault on the election system in that state. The bureau described the threat as “credible” and significant, “an eight on a scale of one to 10,” Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan (R), said Monday. As a result, Reagan shut down the state’s voter registration system for nearly a week. It turned out that the hackers had not compromised the state system or even any county system. They had, however, stolen the username and password of a single election official in Gila County. … This spring, a DHS official cautioned that online voting is not yet secure. “We believe that online voting, especially online voting in large scale, introduces great risk into the election system by threatening voters’ expectations of confidentiality, accountability and security of their votes and provides an avenue for malicious actors to manipulate the voting results,” said Neil Jenkins, an official in the department’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications.
Private-sector researchers are also concerned about potential meddling by Russians in the U.S. election system. Rich Barger, chief information officer at ThreatConnect, said that several of the IP addresses listed in the FBI alert trace back to a website-hosting service called King Servers that offers Russia-based technical support. Barger also said that one of the methods used was similar to a tactic employed in other intrusions suspected of being carried out by the Russian government, including one this month on the World Anti-Doping Agency.
“The very fact that [someone] has rattled the doorknobs, the very fact that the state election commissions are in the crosshairs, gives grounds to the average American voter to wonder: Can they really trust the results?” Barger said.