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Secretary of State: Arizona’s election hacking was ‘much ado about nothing’

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — Officials with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office said reports that hackers believed to be directed by the Russian government breached Arizona’s state election database last year were “much ado about little or nothing.”

Before the 2016 presidential election, the FBI said it uncovered information that hackers breached Arizona’s state election database in an attack that Secretary of State Michele Reagan later said likely originated in Russia.

The Department of Homeland Security informed Reagan in September that the state’s voter registration system was targeted a second time last year by possible Russian agents, but it was initially unknown whether it was actually breached.

But Matt Roberts with the secretary of state’s office said both instances of hacking did not affect the state’s voter registration database — or affect the state at all.

“We were glad to find out that the instances that DHS was reporting was essentially low-level scans of computer systems at local government levels,” Roberts said. “They were not of the Arizona state registration database.”

“So essentially there was much ado about little or nothing, but we were relieved to hear that it was limited to simple, low-level scanning of securities,” he added.

Roberts did not clarify which local governments were targeted, but said there was not any evidence that anyone breached the state’s systems “whatsoever” and stole or manipulated voter data.

“Last June’s attack on one of the local county’s computers that had nothing in terms of what they were actually able to access,” he said. “In short, they were only able to access a localized computer and not the state registration database.”

But Roberts assured residents that the office is “as always, doing everything we can to protect everyone’s data. “

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