FBI says ‘foreign hackers’ penetrated election systems… Arizona and Illinois breached… ‘Completely unprecedented’
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation has found breaches in Illinois and Arizona’s voter registration databases and is urging states to increase computer security ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election, according to a U.S. official familiar with the probe.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that investigators were also seeking evidence of whether other states may have been targeted.
The FBI warning in an Aug. 18 flash alert from the agency’s Cyber Division did not identify the intruders or the two states targeted.
Reuters obtained a copy of the document after Yahoo News first reported the story Monday.
Hackers attack Arizona and Illinois election computer systems
FBI warns other states to be on alert over suspected foreign attack
The FBI is investigating the suspected hacking of the election computer systems in at least two US states by a foreign agent and has warned other states to watch out for potential intrusions.
Officials in Arizona and Illinois confirmed that their systems had been the subject of cyber attacks in July, with information about as many as 200,000 voters hacked in Illinois.
The intrusion comes after the alleged Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee which led to the leak of thousands of emails discussing the election campaign.
The warning by the FBI has highlighted concerns that the computer systems that are now central to the infrastructure of managing elections in the US could be vulnerable to hacking, including by foreign actors.
One person who works with state election officials called the FBI’s memo “completely unprecedented.”
“There’s never been an alert like that before that we know of,” said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive intergovernmental conversations.
Multiple former officials and security researchers said the cyberattacks on Arizona’s and Illinois’ voter databases could be part of a suspected Russian attempt to meddle in the U.S. election, a campaign that has already included successful intrusions at major Democratic Party organizations and the selective leaking of documents embarrassing to Democrats. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has alleged that the digital attacks on her party are an effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime to sway the election to GOP nominee Donald Trump. Moscow has denied any involvement.