A federal contractor has been arrested after leaking a new, revealing report on the extent to which Russian hackers tried to meddle in the U.S. election. CSIS analyst James Lewis says it should be shocking, but it isn’t because of Russian skills. (June 6)

A Maricopa County elections official says at least one of the state’s voting systems was not compromised in 2016 by the Russian cyberattacks recently revealed in a leaked U.S. intelligence document.

The explosive National Security Agency report said Russian military intelligence executed a phishing attack on at least one U.S. supplier of voting software and sent deceptive emails to more than 100 local elections officials in the days leading up to the election last November — a sign that Moscow’s hacking may have penetrated further into voting systems than previously known.

The alleged leaker, Reality Leigh Winner, 25, was identified and arrested by the FBI and is charged with giving classified material to the online news magazine the Intercept. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told USA TODAY he doesn’t “believe (Russian hackers) got into changing actual voting outcomes,” but the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said the “extent of the attack is much broader than has been reported so far.”

RELATED: Warner: More state election systems targeted by Russians

His remarks raised questions about whether Arizona officials might have fallen victim.

In August, the FBI notified Arizona of a hacking attempt on the state voter-registration database after a Gila County employee opened an infected email attachment. And state lawmakers saw a message in Russian when their Capitol accounts were hacked earlier this year. 

Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes sought to reassure voters Tuesday that the county elections system was not affected by the Russian intelligence attack detailed in the NSA report.

“It is important that voters know they can trust our systems and are always welcome to ask questions,” he said in a written statement.

“The Maricopa County Recorder has an in-house IT department that builds its own voter registration software and electronic pollbook check-in system,” Fontes added. “The IT department was in the process of significantly improving its already robust security systems prior to the release of this new information.”

Fontes’ first major initiative upon taking office this year was to hire friendly hackers to test the security of the county elections system.

The experiment found no vulnerabilities, but the announcement of it attracted a large spike in hacking attempts, Fontes admitted. 

Matt Roberts, spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, said counties do not connect tabulation equipment to the internet, which keeps them secure from hackers.

Roberts could not immediately say whether the attack reported by the NSA might be related to the Gila County hacker, but said “to our knowledge (the hacker) was never able to access anything but that user’s computer.” 

USA TODAY contributed to this article.


County hires team to hack election system

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