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Election officials in 21 states have been notified by the Department of Homeland Security that hackers targeted voter registration systems ahead of last year's presidential election. In most cases, the systems were not breached. A small number of networks were compromised, but those affected were not involved in the actual tallying of votes. In most of the states, the targeting involved preparatory activity, such as scanning computer systems.
"It's really reconnaissance by a bad guy to try and figure out how we would break into your computer," said Trevor Timmons, a spokesman for the Colorado secretary of state's office. "It's not an attack. I wouldn't call it a probe. It's not a breach, it's not a penetration."
"It's unacceptable that it took almost a year after the election to notify states that their elections systems were targeted," said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, "but I'm relieved that DHS ... is finally informing the top elections officials in all 21 affected states that Russian hackers tried to breach their systems in the run up to the 2016 election.
"We have recently completed our investigation into these allegations and have determined that the activity Georgia noted on its computer networks was the result of normal and automatic computer message exchanges generated by the Microsoft applications involved," Inspector General John Roth wrote in a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Monday.