Alleged Russian Hack Reveals a Deeply Flawed Election System

The leaked NSA report focused on a vendor that had contracts with eight states: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The criminal complaint alleges that victor, who had worked as a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation since February, printed out and took classified intelligence reporting from an intelligence community agency.

The NSA report does not say whether the cyberattack effort had any effect on the election results.

Security experts for years have warned that electronic voting, even without an internet connection, may be vulnerable in the United States, where a patchwork of systems run by states and municipalities have varying degrees of protection. The software is not used to tabulate voting results.

Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer of IBM Resilient and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, said the report shows the weaknesses of U.S. election systems. The issue forced officials to abandon the system, issue paper ballots and extend voting hours.

VR Systems are used in Seminole and Volusia counties, where election officials confirmed to News 6 on Tuesday that both received the malicious email but were not affected.

Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties do not use VR Systems for their elections. While the company is unnamed, there are references to a product made by VR Systems, a Florida-based vendor of electronic voting services and equipment. "Phishing and spear-phishing are not uncommon in our society".

In Virginia, state Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortes, said he could not comment on whether any local officials were targeted by the phishing emails, but he said he was not aware of any breaches.

USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida asked election supervisors in the state's 67 counties if they had received the suspicious emails and received 39 responses.

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

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"When a customer alerted us to an obviously fraudulent email purporting to come from VR Systems, we immediately notified all our customers and advised them not to click on the attachment".

"The data and physical security measures our office employs for our technology infrastructure is top-notch", he said.

"Bottom line is that owning any part of a county election office backend system is a VERY powerful platform for an attacker", Blaze said on Twitter.

That hack then led to a broader hacking attempt of local election boards around the country just days before the November election. But he pointed out that even if hackers were able to break into voting results, the USA vote-tallying process is so decentralized that it would be nearly impossible to swing an election.

The US authorities arrested a 25-year-old woman by the name of Reality Leigh Winner, who worked for an NSA subcontractor, soon after the report was leaked as she is being blamed for it.

A National Security Agency report published by the website The Intercept said Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one US supplier of voting software and sent deceptive emails to more than 100 local election officials in the days leading up to the November election.

The the complaint says victor mailed the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet a few days later.

"We'd like to make sure we go that extra step to make sure the voters in our community are confident in their votes", she said.

Attempts by Russian Federation to "break into a number of our state voting processes" was "broad-based", he said, without offering details.

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