DHS official: Election results safe from hackers

DHS official: Election results safe from hackers

A senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official on Wednesday said the agency does not believe that hackers will be able to rig the outcome of the presidential election.

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"We don’t believe the results of the election are in jeopardy,” Under Secretary Francis Taylor said during a House Homeland Security hearing on terrorist pathways into the United States.

"It is a continuing concern, " he added. "This is an area that we have to make sure that our 6,000 jurisdictions that manage elections have all the tools they need to make sure those systems remain secure.”

Taylor's assertion comes amid heightened concerns about the security of the election after suspected Russian intelligence hackers infiltrated the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in what many see as an attempt to damage Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Clinton's Republican opponent, Donald Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly expressed concerns that the election will be "rigged" by his opponents, even as he downplays concerns about Russia's activities.

Experts say the patchwork of voting systems across states is extremely vulnerable to attack, making it conceivable that Russian operatives might have the ability to hack voting machines to influence the election's outcome.

The DHS is in the process of examining whether to designate certain electoral systems as critical infrastructure, bringing them under the agency's protection.

The agency in August offered to help states scan their voting systems ahead of the elections to thwart potential hacking attempts.

That offer was met with a mixed response. Georgia has already declined, citing state sovereignty concerns. Battleground state Pennsylvania, meanwhile, has been in touch with DHS officials about possible protections.

Taylor said Wednesday that the agency is working with all 6,000 voting jurisdictions on both cybersecurity and physical security.