Mixed Signals on Russian Targeting of Wis. Elections

Federal officials now say Wisconsin elections weren't targeted by Russian hackers. Federal officials now say Wisconsin elections weren't targeted by Russian hackers. |  Photo: Desten Johnson/WDIO-TV, file

September 27, 2017 10:03 AM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin's chief elections officer says he still doesn't known whether U.S. Homeland Security officials have given the state all available information about a potential attempt by the Russian government to hack voter registration data.

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Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Mike Haas says the state intends to talk with Homeland Security officials on Wednesday to "again attempt to confirm whether they have shared the full information they have available."

Homeland Security on Friday told Wisconsin it was one of 21 states' election systems Russians targeted. But on Tuesday afternoon Homeland Security said a different Wisconsin state agency, the Department of Worforce Development, was targeted.

Then Tuesday night Homeland Security reiterated that it believes 21 states were the target of Russian government hackers seeking vulnerabilities and access to the U.S. election infrastructure.

Homeland Security spokesman Scott McConnell told The Associated Press in a statement that "discussions of specific IP addresses do not provide a complete picture of potential targeting activity."

A spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission said Tuesday Russian hackers may have been trying to access the state voter registration database but scanned one belonging to the DWD by mistake.

Commission spokesman Reid Magney said that "it's been a difficult process trying to piece all of this together."

Haas says one theory is that Homeland Security saw suspicious activity from IP addresses targeting state election systems in other states and assumed that was the intent in Wisconsin as well.

The state is working on bolstering its cyber security plans.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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