Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

On September 22, California Secretary of State Padilla wrote that “Today, my office was informed for the first time by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that “Russian cyber actors” “scanned” California’s Internet-facing systems in 2016… “It is completely unacceptable that it has taken DHS 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 elections officials is a detriment to the security of our elections and our democracy.http://www.sos.ca.gov/administration/news-releases-and-advisories/2017-news-releases-and-advisories/secretary-state-alex-padilla-notified-dhs-unsuccessful-russian-attempt-target-2016-election/

Similarly, “U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified election officials in 21 states that hackers targeted their systems in 2016:

“It’s unacceptable that it took almost a year after the election to notify states that their elections systems were targeted, but I’m relieved that DHS has acted upon our numerous requests and is finally informing the top elections officials in all 21 affected states that Russian hackers tried to breach their systems in the run up to the 2016 election….

Vice Chairman Warner on DHS Notification to States of Attempted Election Hacking
Sep 22 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified election officials in 21 states that hackers targeted their systems in 2016:

“It’s unacceptable that it took almost a year after the election to notify states that their elections systems were targeted, but I’m relieved that DHS has acted upon our numerous requests and is finally informing the top elections officials in all 21 affected states that Russian hackers tried to breach their systems in the run up to the 2016 election.

“We have to do better in the future. Our elections are the bedrock of our democracy, and DHS needs to notify states and localities in real-time when their systems are targeted. While I understand that DHS detects thousands of attempted cyber attacks daily, I expect the top election officials of each state to be made aware of all such attempted intrusions, successful or not, so that they can strengthen their defenses — just as any homeowner would expect the alarm company to inform them of all break-in attempts, even if the burglar doesn’t actually get inside the house.

“All 50 states need to be proactively strengthening the security of their election systems in the face of this threat.

“The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will continue our bipartisan investigation into what happened in 2016, and we will continue to determine what steps we need to take to stop the next attack on our democracy.”

On June 20, 2017, Sen. Warner wrote to then-DHS Secretary John Kelly, pressing for DHS to disclose additional info on state hacking publicly. At a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence the following day, DHS disclosed for the first time that Russian probing or attempted hacking impacted 21 states in the 2016 election. On June 26, Sen. Warner, together with SSCI Chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), wrote to all 50 states, via the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors, asking them to publicly disclose to voters whether their state has been a victim of malicious cyber activity.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has passed an intelligence authorization bill that includes several provisions designed to address the targeting of election systems, including a provision requiring DHS to grant appropriate clearances to state elections officials so that they can receive timely and specific threat information, which was a significant issue identified by the Committee in the course of our investigation. The authorization bill will also require DHS to submit to Congress more information on any cyber attacks or attempted cyber attacks by foreign governments on election infrastructure in states and localities in connection with the 2016 presidential election – so that Congress can help states and localities develop policies and best practices to protect elections systems in 2018 and beyond. An additional provision requires the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), in conjunction with the FBI, CIA, and NSA, to “develop a whole-of-government strategy for countering the threat of Russian cyber attacks and attempted cyber attacks against electoral systems and processes in the United States.”
###
Press Releases Intelligence Russia

Permalink: https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2017/9/vice-chairman-warner-on-dhs-notification-to-states-of-attempted-election-hacking

From the California Secretary of State:
AP17:068
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2017
Contact:
Jesse Melgar or Sam Mahood
(916) 653-6575
Secretary of State Alex Padilla Notified by DHS of Unsuccessful Russian Attempt to Target 2016 Election

SACRAMENTO – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was informed today by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of Russian “scanning” in 2016 of California’s Internet-facing systems. Secretary Padilla released the following statement:

“Today, my office was informed for the first time by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that “Russian cyber actors” “scanned” California’s Internet-facing systems in 2016. DHS confirmed that they have no evidence that any systems were penetrated or compromised in any way. Scanning is an unauthorized attempt to identify weaknesses in a computer or network – akin to a burglar looking for unlocked doors in a house.”

“Our office actively monitors scanning activity as part of our routine cyber security protocols. We have no information or evidence that our systems have been breached in any way or that any voter information was compromised.”

“We are concerned, however, that in June 2017, Jeanette Manfra, Acting Undersecretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at DHS testified before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that “the owners of the systems within those 21 states have been notified.” This was simply not true and DHS acknowledged they failed to contact us and “two or three” other states.”

“It is completely unacceptable that it has taken DHS 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 elections officials is a detriment to the security of our elections and our democracy.”

“In a letter I sent to Admiral Michael S. Rogers of the National Security Agency (NSA) earlier this year in June, I expressed serious concern about the NSA’s failure to provide timely and critical information to America’s elections officials. We shouldn’t have to learn about potential threats from leaked NSA documents or media reports. It is the intelligence community’s responsibility to inform elections officials of any potential threats to our elections. They failed in this responsibility.”

“I will continue to demand that our intelligence agencies be forthcoming with timely and actionable information relating to cyber security threats. I call on Congress to hold our intelligence agencies accountable to ensure they handle critical information with the urgency and transparency that elections officials and our democracy deserve.”
http://www.sos.ca.gov/administration/news-releases-and-advisories/2017-news-releases-and-advisories/secretary-state-alex-padilla-notified-dhs-unsuccessful-russian-attempt-target-2016-election/