While investigating the matter on Wednesday, a Homeland Security official has testified the Russian hackers of attempting vulnerabilities insertion to the election systems of 21 states in presidential campaign 2016. However, it has been reported that limited systems were affected and none of the vote-tallying machines are manipulated.
This was testified before Senate Intelligence Committee by The Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Cybersecurity of the Department, Jeanette Manfra;
“As of right now, we have evidence that election-related systems in 21 states were targeted,”
It has been stated by the U.S. intelligence agencies that the Kremlin orchestrated a broad influence operation which included online propaganda and email hacking to harm the reputation of Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and favor Donald Trump, a Republican in winning the White House in November.
This update has put a shadow on Trump’s first five months in office. The degree of intrusion that the Russian hackers have access to and their interference in the future elections has been in the spotlight of media reports for months.
Russia has denied responsibility for any cyber attacks during the election. Trump has stated that Russia may or may not be involved in this scenario and has dismissed allegations of his campaign colluding with Russia and said that it is a “fake news”.
Some officials along with Manfra also said that such hacking was possible during U.S. elections because the system is decentralized and is mostly operated on local and state level.
Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine who is grouped with the Democrats said in disbelief that small amount of votes is in key battleground states would require being modified in order to tip the scales in an election.
King Said: “A sophisticated actor could hack an election simply by focusing on certain counties,”
“I don’t think it works just to say it’s a big system and diversity will protect us.”
Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate panel criticized Manfra for refusing to recognize the states that had been targeted. Last year, it was confirmed by Arizona and Illinois that the voter registration systems were targeted by the hackers.
A Senior DHS Cyber Official,
Samuel Liles Said: “A small number of networks were exploited – they made it through the door.”
US Election Inquiry
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, on Wednesday, had a meeting with Senate Judiciary Committee members. The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that there was no disagreement in the investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign and the probe of the panel that what drove Trump to fire James Comey, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director.
On Friday, Trump acknowledged that he was under investigation in the probe of suspected Russian intrusion in the 2016 race and possible collusion by his campaign and overseeing the inquiry by the Justice Department Official seemed to assail. Whether the probe’s investigation would be hindered by Trump or anyone else, was observed by Mueller, a person familiar with the investigation informed Reuters.
Until the end of Obama administration, the Homeland Security Department was led by Jeh Johnson. He told the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee that his department had given warnings about the possibility of hacking the voter registration databases.
Jeh Johnson stated: “We were very concerned that we would not be perceived as taking sides in the election, injecting ourselves into a very heated campaign.”
He informed the House committee, which is investigating suspected Russian meddling in the election that the warnings were not paid attention and blamed the videotape which emerged in 2005 – in which sexual conquests were bragged by Trump for distracting the American public.