Federal agencies deny seeing attacks on voting infrastructure

Federal agencies deny seeing attacks on voting infrastructure
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The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on Tuesday denied seeing any reports of attacks on voting infrastructure, following the publication of a report on potential Russian election interference.

“CISA and the FBI have not seen any cyber attacks this year on voter registration databases or on any systems involving voting,” the agencies wrote in a joint statement. “We closely coordinate with our federal, state, and local election partners to safeguard the voting process.”

“We and our partners continually monitor the risks related to all methods of voting during our elections,” the agencies added. “We regularly provide this information to the state and local election officials responsible for our voting systems.”

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The statement was put out after a report from Russia’s Kommersant newspaper was published Tuesday detailing the discovery of data from 7.6 million Michigan residents and data from millions of other U.S. voters on a Russian hacker site. 

Michigan’s Department of State pushed back strongly against concerns the voter data had been accessed through a hacking incident, noting in a statement that “public voter information in Michigan and elsewhere is accessible to anyone through a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request. Our system has not been hacked.”

Concerns around election security have been heightened since 2016, when Russian agents targeted election systems in all 50 states--successfully gaining access to systems in Florida and Illinois--as part of a sweeping campaign intended to favor the campaign of now-President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE. There is no evidence any votes were changed through these efforts. 

Earlier this month, a senior official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence put out an assessment warning that Russian actors were again interfering in favor of Trump, while Iranian and Chinese actors were interfering in the elections to benefit former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate Republicans face tough decision on replacing Ginsburg What Senate Republicans have said about election-year Supreme Court vacancies Biden says Ginsburg successor should be picked by candidate who wins on Nov. 3 MORE’s campaign. 

The FBI and CISA on Tuesday warned voters to be careful with the information they consume around elections, noting that “unverified claims should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.”

“We encourage voters to look to trusted sources of info, in this case state election officials who have correctly pointed out that a lot of voter registration data is publicly available or easily purchased,” the agencies wrote.  

CISA Director Chris Krebs tweeted the joint statement out, writing that “it’s going to be critical over the next few months to maintain our cool and not spin up over every claim. The last measure of resilience is the American Voter.”