Leaked NSA doc highlights deep flaws in US election system

HOUSTON (AP) — A leaked intelligence document outlining alleged attempts by Russian military intelligence to hack into US election systems is the latest evidence suggesting a broad and sophisticated foreign attack on the integrity of the nation's elections.

Lewis said it's "upsetting" to learn of efforts to undermine democracy. "Never once did the thought cross my mind".

The report found that the Russian Military Intelligence sent spear-phishing emails to over 100 local election officials through attacking a U.S. voting software company. The report the contractor allegedly leaked is dated May 5, the same date as the document The Intercept posted online.

The newly leaked NSA report said the hackers used so-called "spear-phishing" techniques on election officials, trying to convince targets to click on links in emails that seemed to come from legitimate correspondents. Leon Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley says local systems are secure, but the threat is not to be taken lightly.

While voting machines are not connected to the internet, most of the electronic systems need to be programmed with computers which are connected, opening up security holes.

"2016 Debunk the Bunk (long, but important epilogue): You will be reading news reports today of a purported attempt to access Florida voter registration records by the Russian military". We have policies and procedures in effect to protect our customers and our company.

The emails packed malware into Microsoft Word documents and were forged to give the appearance of being sent by the system vendor, VR Systems of Tallahassee, Florida.

"Yes, we did receive it", Gill said, "and we immediately received an email from VR Systems telling us not to open it". Analysts at the NSA believed the hackers were working for the Russian military's General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, according to the document.

On Nov. 1, VR Systems sent emails to almost all county supervisor of elections officials warning them not to open the attachments after the company was alerted to the hacking by a customer.

"We are only aware of a handful of our customers who actually received the fraudulent email and of those, we have no indication that any of them clicked on the attachment or were compromised as a result", it reads.

The "bait" used in the spear-phishing campaign involved software for managing voter registration rolls.

A VR Systems spokesperson did not respond to a question about which California counties had contracts with the company.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly denied Russian government involvement in election hacking, though he said last week that "patriotic" Russians could have been involved.

IN state election officials tell CBS4 six counties - Cass, Floyd, Montgomery, Vanderburgh, Vigo and Wayne - contract with VR Systems to manage their electronic poll books. "It picks away at the confidence voters have in our voting system".

And late Tuesday, Wayne County Clerk Debra Berry said she received confirmation from VR Systems that no IN counties were impacted, adding the primary focus was customers IN Florida.

The election software vendor at the center of a new top-secret report involving Russian hacking in the 2016 election has contracts in IN, but as of late Tuesday afternoon election officials were confident no in voter information was compromised.

US intelligence agencies have previously said the Kremlin tried to influence the election outcome in favor of Republican candidate Donald Trump through leaks during the campaign of hacked emails from Democratic Party officials, aimed at discrediting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The document, purportedly produced by the U.S. National Security Agency, does not indicate whether actual vote-tampering occurred.

Winner, 25, of Augusta, Ga., has been charged with copying classified documents and mailing them to a reporter with an unnamed news organization, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Andino said Tuesday she has not been contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in reference to voting irregularities here.

Attempts by Russian Federation to "break into a number of our state voting processes" was "broad-based", he said, without offering details.

Blazier has no doubts, and she said the Russians will have to do better to hack her computers. "But we work very hard and take great pride in the security that we have".