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Alaska reconfirms that election was unsuccessfully targeted in a Russian Cyber Scan in 2016


March 02, 2018
Friday PM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - In response to a NBC TV story that Russia ‘compromised’ seven states prior to 2016 election, Alaska Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke said, “In September 2017, representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officially informed our division that Russian cyber actors made a failed attempt to access the division’s public information website prior to the 2016 General Election."

Bahnke said, “At that time, DHS officials stated that Alaska was one of 21 states that possibly were the target of an unsuccessful Russian-affiliated cyber incident in October 2016. We have not received any additional information from the federal government to dispute this statement."

“DHS reported, and we confirmed, that Russian actors scanned our public information website in 2016.  The division immediately informed the public of the issue in a press release on September 22, 2017," said Bahnke.

In the 09/17 press release, the division said internet security protocols followed by the State of Alaska successfully protected the election system and the attempted probe had no effect on Alaska’s Voter Registration and Election Management Database or outcome of the election.

 “Many businesses and governments have had threat actors scan systems, which is like a robber rattling the door knob or trying to peek in the windows. But scanning a system, versus breaking and entering, are two very different scenarios." said Bahnke. "We have extensive procedures to secure our information, with multiple layers of security which include a combination of people, processes and technologies to help us conduct secure, trustworthy and accurate elections."

“We will continue to work collaboratively with the National Association of Secretaries of State and DHS [Division of Homeland Security] on cyber security issues,” said Bahnke.

In response to NBC News reporting that Russia allegedly accessed seven states' voter registration systems or websites prior to the 2016 election, Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) said, "According to NBC News, three "senior intelligence officials" stated that seven states elections' websites or databases are believed to have been "compromised" during the 2016 election. Alaska is reportedly on that list of states."

Wielechowski said, "The Alaska Division of Elections previously stated on September 22, 2017 that these attacks were unsuccessful."

"Alaskans have a right to know exactly what occurred," said Wielechowski, "if there were illegal entrances into our system during the election process, and to what extent it may have tainted Alaska's election or Alaskans' data."

Wielechowski said, "It is also imperative that we look at measures now to prevent future intrusions into our electoral system. We must uphold the integrity of our elections, especially with one right around the corner."

Wielechowski urged the Senate Majority to schedule hearings to investigate this in more detail to have the information put on the record and begin talks about ensuring our future elections are absolutely secure.

NBC stated in a news report on their website, after NBC's report on the compromised states aired Tuesday night, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Press Secretary Tyler Houlton challenged its accuracy in a series of tweets. "NBC's reporting tonight [Feb. 28, 2018] on the 2016 elections is not accurate and is actively undermining efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to work in close partnership with state and local governments to protect the nation's elections systems from foreign actors," wrote Houlton.


On the Web:

U.S. intel: Russia compromised seven states prior to 2016 election
NBC - February 28, 2018

Election Program Security Measures


Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Alaska Division of Elections

Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage)




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