List of 21 States Targeted by Hackers & Which Voter Systems Were Breached

Getty Voters cast ballots on November 8, 2016.

Today, the federal government notified 21 states that hackers had targeted their voter registration systems, and “most” were not breached, the Associated Press reported.  Which states were targeted and which of those were breached? Although a full list of all 21 is not yet available, here is the list we know so far. We will update this as more information is available. It’s important to note that there is no evidence that any votes were manipulated, Reuters reported.

So Far We Know 15 out of the 21 Targeted States

So far, the AP has reported that the following states were among the 21 targeted by hackers:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon (via NPR)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Election officials in Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, and North Carolina told NPR that their states were not targeted by hackers.

We will update this list as more information is available.

Which States Were Successfully Breached by Hackers?

According to the Associated Press, only one state —Illinois — has reported that it was one of those 21 states notified and hackers were successful in breaching its systems. Illinoise reported that its voter systems were breached.

Previously, Arizona had announced before the election in 2016 that Russia had hacked its voter rolls. It’s not known if Arizona is mentioned as one of the states breached in today’s notification.

Most states did not even know they were targeted last year until Homeland Security notified them today.

Voting Machines Were Not Targeted And No Votes Were Changed, According to Officials

It’s important to point out that this is not a breach of the voting machines or tallying software and does not point to recorded votes being manipulated in any way, according to the latest reports. It appears the hackers targeted voter registration systems in 2016, not voting machines.

According to Homeland Security in June, while a small number of states were breached, there is no evidence any votes were manipulated.

Wisconsin confirmed, saying that none of its votes were changed, Reuters reported today.

The Federal Government Has Not Revealed if Russia Was Behind the Attempts

In the latest update, the federal government did not reveal who was behind this hack or if Russia was involved; it also did not say what was sought. The information pointing to Russia came from states, not the federal government. According to AP, election officials in three states told AP today that the attempts “could” be linked to Russia. The Wisconsin Election Commission said that it believed its systems were targeted by Russian government cyber actors.

So exactly what do we know at this point? According to AP, it appears that the attempted breach consisted of preparatory actions, such as scanning computer systems. Vote tallying software was not part of the focus, although voter registration systems were. Most attempts at compromising networks were not successful.

Colorado officials told AP that the hackers weren’t trying to breach computers, but were probing the systems to figure out if they could be breached.

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas explained it this way to Reuters:

[Hackers] scanned internet-connected election infrastructure likely seeking specific vulnerabilities such as access to voter registration databases, but the attempt to exploit vulnerabilities was unsuccessful…”

It’s unclear at this point what information was gained from the systems that were breached.

Hillary Clinton told NPR in an interview a couple days ago that she wouldn’t rule out questioning the legitimacy of the 2016 election if new information showed that Russia interfered more deeply than was known before. But, she said, “I don’t know if there’s any legal constitutional way to do that… I just don’t think we have a mechanism.”

This is a developing story.

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