Russian hackers said to have targeted Arizona’s election system

( In recent days the FBI sent an alert to all state election officials that systems in Illinois and Arizona had been hacked, with the bureau adding that Russians were responsible for the hack of the Arizona system, the Washington Post reported.

The FBI described the threat as “credible” as well as significant, “an eight on a scale of one to 10,” according to Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan (R), said last week. As a result of the hack, Reagan ordered the state’s voter registration system shut down for nearly a week.

Cyber security officials determined that the hackers had not compromised the state system or any county system either. But they had managed to steal the username and password of every election official in Gila County.

Roberts told the Post that the FBI did not specify whether the hackers identified were working on behalf of the Russian government or if they were operating independently. FBI officials told the Post last week that they regularly notify private industry of any cyberthreats that were found during investigations.

The incidents in Arizona and Illinois are the latest in a string of hacks attributed to the Russians and Moscow’s apparent interest in the November elections. The state hacks follow breaches of the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. In the former hack, embarrassing emails were released that led to the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and fostered dissent within the party on the eve of Clinton’s nomination as the party’s presidential candidate.

In addition the Post added, the Russian hacking campaigns are also spurring intense concern over the security of this year’s elections. Earlier this month the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned state election officials of the potential that their electronic balloting systems could be hacked. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has even offered to lend federal cybersecurity assistance to state election officials to help secure their balloting systems, but not all states have accepted the offer.

The FBI’s “flash” alert, first reported by Yahoo News, said investigators discovered attempts to hack into state election systems in several states, listing Internet protocol addresses and other technical indicators linked to the hacks.

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