Russian computer hackers accessed voter databases in two Florida counties before the 2016 presidential election, said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, after an informational meeting with the FBI earlier today.
According to DeSantis, hackers were able to access the databases by sending underwater fishing emails to county employees. These links contained malware that, once opened, gave the Russian military intelligence unit GRU access to voter registration information.
The names of the affected counties were not formally announced, but DeSantis said that the officials and electoral employees of those counties have been notified.
The New York Times reported late last month that these malicious emails were sent to 120 election email accounts throughout the state of Florida shortly after the publication of the report of former Special Advisor Robert Mueller about Russia's interference in the 2016 elections. The report previously confirmed that at least one county had been subjected to the GRU piracy campaign.
According to Mueller's report, "these cyber-journalists were in a position to, at a minimum, alter or eliminate voter registration data." Today, however, DeSantis said that the hackers did not manipulate any of the data or the results of the elections.
Although individual votes were not affected or altered, US intelligence officials UU They have been increasingly concerned about the security of the elections in the last two years. At a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the midterm elections of 2018 were simply a "dress rehearsal for the big show" of the 2020 presidential election when it comes to security. Legislators on the Capitol have tried to provide legislative solutions to the meddling of Russian elections.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is one of the lawmakers at the forefront of the effort. Last week, he wrote a letter to the CEO of VR Systems, an election technology company operating in Florida counties, asking if they are prepared for the next presidential election. Wyden has been an outspoken advocate for the use of ballots throughout the country, filing a bill last fall that would require it along with post-election audits.