DHS Official Says Russia Tried to Hack 21 States in 2016 Election

National Security

flickr photo by kafka4prez​​​

DHS Official Says Russia Tried to Hack 21 States in 2016 Election

​The Russian government tried to hack election-related U.S. computer systems in 21 states during the 2016 election, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official testified to a congressional panel Wednesday.

Samuel Liles, DHS's acting director of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis cyber division, said the hackers appeared to be scanning for vulnerabilities and successfully exploited some networks. He also maintained that vote counting mechanisms were not affected.

Liles was testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.  Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources, reported earlier this month that Russian hackers were able to hack systems in 39 states.

Officials declined to say which 21 states were targeted.

Also at the hearing, FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap testified that the Russian government also pushed false news reports and propaganda online. He said Russia has tried to influence U.S. elections for years, but its efforts in 2016 were at a higher scale and level of aggressiveness.