Leaked NSA doc highlights deep flaws in US election system

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This comes on the same day the online news site "The Intercept" posted a report that Russian government hackers carried out a cyberattack against one US voting software vendor last August, and launched a spear-phishing attack targeting local organizations days before the 2016 presidential election.

The scramble for information comes after a leaked intelligence report detailing the effort.

"And it's many weeks now before the next election, and if there has been Russian penetration of our election software systems or anyone else's penetration, it could continue to affect vote counting for years".

According to the report, Russian hackers sent spoof emails to employees of an unnamed USA election software company. Apparently exploiting technical data obtained in that operation, the cyber spies later sent phishing emails to more than 100 local US election officials just days ahead of the November 8 vote, intent on stealing their login credentials and breaking into the their systems, the document says.

In a statement, NASS urged federal agencies to notify local election officials about the hacking attempts, which the newly leaked documents show the NSA knew about by April of this year.

No conclusions have been drawn as of yet on whether or not the attempt successfully interfered with voting results, but VR Systems software was used in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Still, the disclosure of the NSA document has prompted a review of election security, he said.

Joe Canciamilla, the clerk-recorder and registrar of voters in Contra Costa County - which has no connection with VR Systems - said in an interview that the episode could encourage jurisdictions to spend more on technology to protect voting data.

Still, her office was contacting county boards about potential breaches.

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"We have not had any big, 'Uh oh, we've got a problem with computers, '" said Brian, a Republican.

Humboldt officials used VR Systems equipment during the November election, but are no longer using it, Sanders said.

Seminole County uses paper ballots and "you can't hack paper", Ertel said.

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel said his office did receive the phishing email and took measures to make sure they were not impacted. Federal officials have stressed that state or local participation in any DHS programs is voluntary, and suggested that DHS expertise might be able to help election officials secure themselves against online attacks. Despite this, Homeland Security believes IL was hit the worst in regard to voter registration systems which are also believed to have been hacked by Russian Federation. Eight counties - Clay, Collier, Citrus, Escambia, Hillsborough, Pasco, Putnam, and Vousia - said they received the email, and it was quarantined and did not give hackers access. To date, no evidence of tampering with vote tallies or registration rolls has been discovered.

The general counsel for the IL state elections board, Ken Menzel, said the state cooperated with the FBI and other federal authorities in the investigation but was not told who might have been responsible. "That wasn't part of our need-to-know".

Homeland Security made the same offer to all states, through the National Association of Secretaries of State, she said.

Winner, 25, of Augusta, Ga., has been charged with copying classified documents and mailing them to a reporter with an unnamed news organization, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

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