It’s been a few months since Donald Trump invited Russia to look into Hillary Clinton’s email servers, and just a few days since he accused a 400-pound hacker of being behind the attack on the DNC earlier this summer. But all “joking” aside, cybersecurity is becoming a more relevant and recent issue than ever this election cycle. On Friday, a Homeland Security Department official revealed that hackers targeted the voter registration systems in over 20 states in the last few months, perhaps adding more fuel to the fire that is the mistrust in the election system this cycle.
Sources told ABC News that of the attempted attacks on the voter registration systems, four were ultimately compromised. Russia is suspected to be behind the malfeasance.
“There’s no doubt that some bad actors have been poking around,” FBI Director James Comey said on Wednesday, though he did not go into any further detail. He simply noted that there had been “some attempted intrusions at voter registration databases” since August, but now, it looks as though the problem is far wider-reaching than officials had previously let on.
All the same, government players and cybersecurity experts alike have noted that a hack would not ultimately change the results of the election, despite Donald Trump’s insistence that November would be “rigged.” The systems in question have “nothing to do with vote casting or counting,” Kay Stimson, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Secretaries of State told the Associated Press in an email. “While it is theoretically possible to disrupt an election by infiltrating a voter registration system, their compromise would not affect election results,” and she further noted that system controls are always in place to prevent fraudulent activity.
That said, these reports do little to quell voter fear as Election Day draws ever nearer. State election officials are being urged to implement technical recommendations to make their systems more secure, and make sure that their electronic voting machines are not internet connected.