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Russians tried to hack into California election system ahead of 2016 polls

California's Secretary of State said he was informed for the first time about such activities on Friday

IANS  |  San Francisco 


The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes that tried to access California's election website before last year's presidential polls, a top official said.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said he was informed "for the first time" by the on Friday of last year's attempt, in which "scanned" the website with the intent to "identify weaknesses in a computer or network - akin to a burglar looking for unlocked doors in a house", reports Xinhua news agency.

"Our office actively monitors scanning activity as part of our routine cybersecurity protocols.

"We have no information or evidence that our systems have been breached in any way or that any voter information was compromised," Padilla said.

Although the confirmed that there was no evidence of systems breach or compromise, Padilla expressed serious concern about the failure of the National Security Agency (NSA) to provide "timely and critical information to America's election officials".

"It is completely unacceptable that it has taken over a year to inform our office of Russian scanning of our systems, despite our repeated requests for information. The practice of withholding critical information from election officials is a detriment to the security of our elections and our democracy," said Padilla.

A leaked document earlier this year outlined a Russian effort to hack into devices made by a Florida-based voting software company.

One California county, Humboldt, used the company's software but did not find any evidence of tampering, according to the Los Angeles Times.

First Published: Sat, September 23 2017. 17:12 IST