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Alabama Among 21 States Targeted by Russian Hackers

According to The Hill, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified 21 states on Friday that Russia attempted to hack their election systems prior to the 2016 election. Alabama is one of those states.

In many of the cases, DHS only saw preparations for hacking, such as scanning for potential modes of attack. Since voting machines are not connected to the internet, the only systems vulnerable to attack would be those that house voter roles. However, there was no evidence discovered that suggests Russia altered votes or vote totals in any way.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill released a statement after being notified of the attempted hack.

“Over the course if the election season, the MS-ISAC’s (Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center) Albert network monitoring service identified scanning activity from suspicious IP addresses against 21 states. In Alabama, DHS and MS-ISAC observed suspicious traffic from IP addresses on Alabama state networks, but those IP addresses were thwarted from conducting any successful breach…This information shows Alabama’s system protections  and preparations were successful in thwarting attempted hackers from breaching state networks and voting systems during the attacks.”

Other states included in the DHS report are California, Colorado, Florida, and Minnesota. DHS has not released a full list of the states that were affected. However, the intelligence community does not believe that any of these state’s vote totals were altered in any way to impact the outcome of the election.

Intelligence officials do believe that Russian hackers attacked the Democratic National Committee and other political officials in an attempt to influence the election. Documents obtained from these targets may have been leaked to the public to sway voter opinion of several candidates.

While state officials and lawmakers are relieved that the systems put in place to protect our election systems did just that, some question why it took DHS so long to notify the various states. Lawmakers acknowledge that we need to remain aware of the evolving threats to our national security and take appropriate action to thwart any cyberattack in the future.

“While it is encouraging that our efforts to protect Alabamians’ data have proven to be successful, we must remain vigilant and prepared for the constantly evolving threats to our voting systems and the integrity of those processes. We will utilize every resource available to ensure we are protecting the data of all Alabamians,” said Secretary Merrill.