Hacked Elections? FBI Probes More Foreign Cyber-Threats To State Election Systems

While many may have rolled their eyes at Trump or turned their nose up at feeble evidence of hacking, could foreign hackers be threatening the state election systems? The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security seem to think that this may be a reality.

Evidence seems to actually have arisen that suggests that foreign sources may be attempting to (or even have been successful in) hacking our election polls and systems. But who is the source? And have they really been successful?

The Sydney Morning Herald noted the difference between hacking voter information and targeting the actual votes.

“Accessing information in a voter database, much of which is publicly accessible, does not necessarily suggest an effort to manipulate the votes themselves. When registering, voters typically provide their names, home addresses, driver’s license or identification numbers, and party affiliations.”

But evidence suggests that more breaches than just access to voters’ information may be going on, and federal officials are committed to investigating further. One particular question, the news source said, is whether or not the threats are coming from the Russian government.

“Officials and cyber security experts say recent breaches at the Democratic National Committee and elsewhere in the Democratic Party were likely carried out by people within the Russian government. Kremlin officials have denied that.”

Of course, Donald Trump is quite infamous for his habit to target foreigners — whether seriously or in jest. Trump has often claimed that the system could be tampered with — claims that could detract from the real and present danger that harmful foreign hacking could present.

“The intrusions come amid repeated unsubstantiated claims by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that the U.S. election system is ‘rigged,'” The Christian Science Monitor reported. “Trump has cited emails leaked from the Democratic National Committee that indicated the party favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders as reason to cast doubt on the electoral process in general.”

Although Trump’s claims may seem unfounded, there were reports last month of hackers being involved with the Clinton campaign–a concern that the FBI took seriously and investigated thoroughly, The Inquisitr reported.

While the evidence suggesting tampering may not be very conclusive or very substantial, The Washington Post reports that hacking is still hacking, and as such is still a threat to internal security.

“Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, cautioned that the evidence so far appears too thin to draw conclusions. Some of the tools the FBI described, for instance, he said, are also used by Iranian hackers. Nonetheless, he said, the breaches are cause for concern.”

“Intrusions from foreign actors could compromise the integrity of our election system or even cast doubt on the accuracy of the voting process,” Alperovitch explained.

If our electoral systems and processes are not secure and thoroughly private, then who is to say that both foreigners or even United States citizens might not be tempted to skew polls, predictions, and results?

However, despite repeated reports and rumors that such hacking may be occurring, not everyone wants help from federal sources. Holding true to the tradition of independence for which the USA is famous, many state election boards are opting for more privacy and autonomy, The Christian Science Monitor said.

“Several state election boards have rejected assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to secure their voting systems, citing fears of a federal takeover of a state-run system, said Susannah Goodman, director of the voting integrity program at Common Cause, a progressive advocacy organization.”

As with most allegations of foreign hacking or tampering, the FBI seems to be taking this threat seriously–no matter how minor the evidence.

[Photo by Damian Dovarganes/AP Images]