Russian Hackers Target Florida Election Software Company

Some states review election systems for signs of intrusion

"We are only aware of a handful of our customers who actually received the fraudulent email and of those, we have no indication that any of them clicked on the attachment or were compromised as a result", it reads.

The fraudulent email came through as a gmail.com account, and VR Systems told elections officials that emails from the company "will never come from an '@gmail.com' email address".

The top-secret document from the National Security Agency, published by online news outlet The Intercept, stops short of drawing any conclusions about the impact of the attacks and whether it affected any ballots.

Ion Sancho, who retired as Leon County supervisor in December, said he later learned from industry contacts that it was VR Systems. With a nod to president Donald Trump's insistence his campaign received no Russian assistance, Warner said he wants to release the information "not to re-litigate 2016" [the presidential election] but in order to ensure future USA elections can be defended against similar attacks.

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 document states the phishing attempt was seeking to obtain VR Systems' employees email credentials by "enticing the victims to click on an embedded link within a spoofed Google Alert email". The emails included an attached Microsoft Word document infected with malware that appeared to be a user manual but if opened could give hackers wide access to a computer.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, denied the hacking and phishing allegations Tuesday, saying the Kremlin did not see "any evidence to prove this information is true".

According to the documents, the goal of the attack, which occurred last August, was "to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions".

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VR Systems' electronic poll books - electronic systems used to verify registered voters at polling places - experienced problems on November 8 in Durham County, North Carolina. Hart InterCivic could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. As I've said, this is unsurprising: Cybersecurity researchers have been warning about the lax security and regulation of electronic voting for years, though there has been little in the way of resources, or imperatives, to fix it.

The company added that it had policies and procedures in place to protect their customers.

"The Florida Department of State participated in an informational call with the Federal Bureau of Investigation related to elections security at the end of September 2016, said Sarah Revell, spokesperson for the agency that oversees Florida's elections system".

"What happens is if you get a known signature from a phishing attack, the system will know that and have a record of that so it doesn't come into the county", Storm said. Prosecutors did not say which federal agency employed victor, but FBI agent Justin Garrick said in an affidavit filed with the court that she had previously served in the Air Force and held a top-secret security clearance. Boyd said that the Office of Emergency Services is also unaware of any other counties that use VR Systems.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla told the Mercury News on Tuesday that his office has found that any other county besides Humboldt County used VR Systems equipment.

He removed the classified material and then he handed it to online news report which hampered the secrecy of the organization.

The Mercury News reported that the alleged source of the leaked NSA document was a 25-year-old government contractor Reality Leigh Winner of Georgia.

If convicted, victor may be imprisoned for up to 10 years. The more complicated our system gets, and the fewer guarantees we can make about its integrity, the worse this dilemma becomes.

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