At long last, DHS reveals Texas’ election system was one of the many targets of Russian-affiliated hackers in 2016

HAMBURG, GERMANY - DECEMBER 28: Participant hold their laptops in front of an illuminated wall at the annual Chaos Computer Club (CCC) computer hackers' congress, called 29C3, on December 28, 2012 in Hamburg, Germany. The 29th Chaos Communication Congress (29C3) attracts hundreds of participants worldwide annually to engage in workshops and lectures discussing the role of technology in society and its future. (Photo by Patrick Lux/Getty Images)

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The Department of Homeland Security notified 21 states Friday that they were the target of Russian-affiliated hackers, and at least one was successful.

According to TechCrunch, most of the election systems targeted were subject to scanning without an attempt to hack into the actual election system, but a few states had their election systems compromised.

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So far, Illinois is the only state to be definitively confirmed as having its election system hacked in 2016.

DHS says no attempts were made to access the part of the voting system that counts the votes.

Texas was on the list of targeted states, along with Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington.

Homeland Security stated the cyber attack on Wisconsin, in particular, was the work of “Russian government cyber actors.”

The decision to delay informing states targeted for hacking drew outrage from some members of Congress, such as Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Mark Warner. Both are members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

In a statement to TechCrunch, the DHS had the following to say about its policies:

DHS does not publicly disclose cybersecurity information shared between the department and its partners. When we become aware of a potential victim, DHS notifies the owner or operator of the system, who in this case may not necessarily be the Secretary of State’s office. However, recognizing that state and local officials should be kept informed about cybersecurity risks to election infrastructure, we are working with them to refine our processes for sharing this information while protecting the integrity of investigations and the confidentiality of system owners.

As the investigation into the 2016 election continues to examine links between Donald Trump and Russia, this new disclosure may add more fuel to an already contentious fire.

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