Monday, October 03, 2016

HACKING THE VOTE - Manipulation of Election 2016 Results?

A gift from Donald's Russian friend.

"Could hackers compromise November election results?" PBS NewsHour 9/30/2016


SUMMARY:  Since the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, there has been growing concern about cyber-manipulation of election results this November.  Voter registration databases in Illinois and Arizona were penetrated in June, and the FBI reported this week on attempts against several other states.  Hari Sreenivasan talks to chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner for more on the threat.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Concern has been growing about possible cyber-manipulation of the U.S. election since revelations in June that the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Committee's data had been stolen.

U.S. intelligence official pointed the finger at Russian-government-linked hackers, though wouldn't say so publicly.  Separately, Illinois and Arizona's voter registration databases were penetrated in June, forcing them to temporarily shut down.

This week, FBI Director James Comey told Congress there had been new attempts to penetrate many more state voter databases.

Margaret Warner has been looking into this and joins me now.

So, what's the real danger to the elections if voter registration databases are being hacked?

MARGARET WARNER (NewsHour):  Hari, on one hand, it could be strictly criminal.  People want to get addresses, home phone numbers, e-mails, and use it for criminal purposes.

And many states have had to deal with that in the past.  But the other danger is that information can be used to selectively used to manipulate the vote on Election Day.

For example, send out e-mails to voters in certain districts, perhaps minority districts, and, oh, your registration place has been changed, your voting place has been changed.  And this has been done often by phone.  It's an old, old trick.  Or to simply to delete them from the database, so when they get there, there is incredible confusion.

So, as a senior homeland security official told me this afternoon, the other danger that really worries us is that just the news of these hacks undermined American voters' view of the credibility of the U.S.  election system.  And there are certainly foreign powers who would like to do that.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  So, let's talk about those foreign powers.

Do the U.S. officials believe that the Russians are behind this or any of the other hacks that have been related so far?


First of all, they established that they were behind the hacks you mentioned earlier, the DNC and the DCCC, and that there are two sort of outfits, what is called Fancy Bear — it's a nickname — and one is Cozy Bear.

One is linked to the old KGB called the GRU and one is linked to military intelligence.  And I was told by cyber-experts who have been involved in these investigations that these voter database hacks are the work of so-called Fancy Bear, which is the one side to Russian military intelligence.

This is the same outfit that, in Ukraine, in Ukrainian elections two years ago, penetrated the database of the Ukrainian election authorities and tried to switch the actual plate that showed who was winning where.  They didn't succeed, but the fake plate that showed someone else won did end up on Russian TV in Russia.

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