The Intercept, a source I’m not 100% thrilled with, reported yesterday that Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU, compromised the systems of a Florida elections services company. GRU phished employees of the company, trying to get user credentials to get into their system, so they could go through their voting records. It seems like at least of those employees’ accounts was compromised, which means GRU probably got into the records. GRU used info from there to phish election officials with the intent of planting malware on their systems.
The Intercept’s report has since been verified by plenty of other reputable sources, and the gal who leaked the information to the Intercept was arrested because the Intercept doesn’t know how to protect its sources, apparently. Or at least, for some reason, the Intercept wasn’t able to protect her as completely as they could have. Just, y’know. FYI.
We’ve been told over and over again that our actual, technical voting systems are safe from hacking, but the Intercept’s report and the NSA documents they were reporting on show that those systems are not, in fact, safe. While the voting machines themselves aren’t hooked up to the Internet and are therefore safer, the computers used to program those voting machines and other systems that are used for things like counting votes and so forth, are vulnerable.
It doesn’t seem like any votes were changed in the 2016 election, but it sure seems like it wouldn’t have been too difficult for Russian election diddlers to have done that, or to do it in the future. So. Y’know. That’s a thing we have to worry about now.
- The Intercept: Top-secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election
- NPR: 5 Unanswered Questions Raised By The Leaked NSA Hacking Report
- NPR: Report: Russia Launched Cyberattack On Voting Vendor Ahead Of Election
- NiemanLab: The Intercept’s Russian hacking report also seems to be a good example of how not to handle leaks
- Lifehacker: NSA Leaker Outed Thanks to Modern Printer Technology
- Vox: Leaked NSA documents mean this week’s Russia hearings just got a lot more interesting
- TPM: Top Dem: Russia’s Election System Attacks More Extensive Than Reported