BREAKING: Federal Election Commission Hit By ‘Russian Speaking Hacker’ (DETAILS)


Shining yet another light on the disturbing vulnerability of the U.S. electoral system, the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has just announced that it was targeted by a “Russian speaking hacker.”

The agency announced the following in a press release discussing the hack:

‘Upon detecting the intrusion, the EAC terminated access to the application and began working with federal law enforcement agencies to determine the source of this criminal activity. The FBI is currently conducting an ongoing criminal investigation. As such, questions concerning the investigation should be directed to the FBI.’

Shutting down the affected computer system after a hack is great, but it wasn’t enough to stop the effects of hacks of Democratic Party interests ahead of Election Day.

Although the EAC press release did not detail the origin of the cyberattack, security website Recorded Future did, issuing a statement on Thursday with the headline “Russian-Speaking Hacker Selling Access to the US Election Assistance Commission.”

The targeted commission certifies brands of electronic voting technology for states’ usage and, according to The Hill, provides “election-related data” to voters. The Election Assistance Commission does not have any role in the tabulation of ballots.

Such does not mean, however, that all is fine and dandy.

Just because access to computer systems at the EAC would not necessarily allow potential hackers to acutely alter election results, that does not mean that the hackers targeted the wrong guy.

The hack of data from the commission may have made available to those wishing to meddle in the U.S. electoral process the needed information to target electronic voting technology with cyberattacks on a state-by-state basis. After all, the EAC is a repository of such information.

What makes this situation even more nauseating is the fact that, in the days immediately following the election, a group of elections experts suggested that such a cyberattack may have indeed happened in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — the 3 states responsible for Donald Trump’s leading margin in the electoral college.

The Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein led recount efforts in each of the mentioned states in effort to vet the elections’ experts claims, but those efforts were shut down by state authorities in 2 out of 3 cases over Stein not being an “aggrieved candidate” with the right to request a recount.

Voting machines, for what it’s worth, are not normally connected to a remotely accessible internet network, and thus most voting methods are unreachable by hackers in the sense of allowing them to mess with the final vote count.

“Most” does not mean “all” however.

Brian Varner, a security researcher at Symantec, described to CNN at one point how easily hackers could infiltrate the highly decentralized method of reporting the final results of elections. Hackers, according to Varner, could likely jump in between precinct level vote counts and state level vote counts and mess with the results.

On top of that, according to Pamela Smith, who serves as president of Verified Voting, an organization that, according to CNN, “advocates for transparency in voting machines,” the five states of Georgia, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and New Jersey all use electronic voting methods that leave no method whatsoever allowing for an audit of the results.

Audits would allow for potential hacker-driven discrepancies, such as those discussed by Varner, to be resolved. No paper trails for votes, however, means no audits are possible — and it means that elections officials are that much more impotent when it comes to addressing any threats to the elections system.

Featured Image via DON EMMERT/AFP/ Getty Images