Leaked NSA doc highlights deep flaws in US election system

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- Officials with the Maricopa County Recorder's Office and Elections Department said Tuesday the department is not connected to Monday's report of a voting software vendor that was hacked by Russia's military intelligence.

NSA documents leaked by Reality Leigh Winner, however, contradict Obama's claims as election-related hacking efforts continued until just days before the election.

After the first suspicious email was sent last August, the FBI's Jacksonville office held a conference call on September 30 with county supervisors of elections to alert them to "a malicious act found in a jurisdiction" in Florida, according to Ion Sancho, the former Leon County elections supervisor who was on the call. We have dug a cyber moat around the data so we can ensure access of sensitive information and systems by only those granted access. The county may not have even been a target of the hacking attempt.

The incident has now placed Humboldt County into larger worldwide conversations regarding Russian interference into the 2016 USA presidential election as well as a potential crackdown on federal leakers by President Donald Trump's administration.

"We were on a conference call with Homeland Security and representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and they told us and wanted to ensure us they were watching everything across the state", said Jennifer Edwards, Collier elections supervisor.

In the process outlined by the leaked NSA document, hackers successfully tricked VR Systems employees into giving up their email login information and used it to gain access to company files.

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The NSA document did not name any of the states where local officials were targeted by the emails masquerading as being from VR Systems. "They did not provide any information specific to VR Systems".

Secretary of State Alex Padilla told the Mercury News on Tuesday that his office has found that any other county besides Humboldt County used VR Systems equipment. Although there may have been many others, security experts said one coming so late in the game would be more likely to be about sowing chaos than trying to alter vote counts. While stating he did not want to disclose too much information for security reasons, Storm stated that county has an email filtering system in place that he said would have been able to pick up the fake VR Systems emails.

"There is no evidence of any breach of elections systems in California", Padilla said in an email.

An initial phishing email was sent on October 31 to former Volusia Elections Supervisor Ann McFall, who had retired months earlier but whose account remained active. In a statement, the company said it only knows of a "handful" of customers who received the fraudulent email, adding that it had "no indication" that anyone had clicked on the malware.

The New York Times, at the time, reported that "the president made it sound like that worked", noting Obama's claim that "we did not see further tampering of the election process".

The Volusia information-technology officials in charge of overseeing that account did not open the attachment in that email and the following day, the warning from VR Systems was sent. Hart InterCivic could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

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The electronic poll books, officials said, are not connected to voting machines or the statewide voter registration system, which includes more confidential information like a voter's driver's license number of last for digits of their social security number.

Russian military attempts to hack last year's presidential election were aimed at a Tallahassee-based company. Victor faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Winner's case is the first prosecution of releasing classified information under President Donald Trump.

Humboldt County's Elections and Voter Registration offices are located at 2426 West Sixth Street in northern Eureka.

"We'd like to make sure we go that extra step to make sure the voters in our community are confident in their votes", she said.

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