ARIZONA NEWS

Report: Arizona voter database hacked by criminals in 2016, not Russia

Apr 9, 2018, 5:31 PM
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)...
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

PHOENIX — It has been nearly two years since the 2016 presidential election but the confusion surrounding a potential hack of Arizona’s election database during the campaign season continues.

A senior White House official told Reuters on Monday that a hack of the state’s election database was done by “suspected criminal actors and not the Russian government.”

But Arizona officials do not believe any votes were manipulated or changed.

The official was responding to an earlier report from CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” which found that Russian hackers “successfully infiltrated” computer systems “associated with” Arizona and three other states leading up to the 2016 election.

A previously undisclosed Oct. 28, 2016, assessment from the Department of Homeland Security that was cited in the “60 Minutes” report said hackers working for the Kremlin breached a county database in Arizona, but did not specify which one.

But the White House official, who spoke to the publication on the condition of anonymity, said the cyber attack on Arizona “was not perpetrated by the Russian government” and that media reports at times relied on “outdated or incomplete information and conflated criminal hacking with Russian government activity.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation first reported in August 2016 that hackers breached the state’s election database, but no voter information was compromised.

Later that same year, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan told CNBC that the source of the hack was an email that was designed to look like an internal employee email. She said she was told it appeared the email originated in Russia, but that was not certain.

Reagan said in 2017 that the state’s voter registration system was targeted by possible Russian agents for a second time in 2016, but it was not clear whether it was actually breached.

It was revealed in February that the Phoenix Public Library system was scanned by hackers, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.

A spokesman for Secretary of State Michele Reagan, Darron Moffatt, said Reagan’s office had not been told at the time that “any Arizona voting system has been compromised, nor do we have any reason to believe any votes were manipulated or changed.”

Reuters said it was not immediately able to confirm the authenticity of the Department of Homeland Security assessment. If it is authentic, it would have been issued less than two weeks before the November election.

Reagan told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday that her office was alerted in June 2016 that a Gila County computer that was linked to the voter registration database had been hacked and that the hack emanated from a server in Ukraine.

While the hack started from a Ukraine server, Reagan said the hack still could have been coming from anywhere.

“So we still don’t know who was responsible for that, if it was some low-level hacking that was coming from even within the United States. These are very, very hard to track,” she added.

But Reagan assured that hackers in the the June 2016 attack did not take or alter any information.

“Whenever we hear the word ‘hack’ in related to elections systems, it certainly is scary and it’s certainly something we’re constantly vigilant about, but the vote itself and the tabulation machines, none of those machines are online so it’s very, very hard to ‘hack’ those.”

“Now the voter registration system, where your data’s kept and my data’s kept and 3 million others, that is a treasure-trove of information and that is online. So we see entities probing that system every single day.”

Reagan said the goal of her office was to make sure every time someone tries to probe or scan the voter registration system, that the system is blocking those.

“Cyber security going forward is going to become even more important. The bad guys only need to be right one time and our systems need to be right every time.”

KTAR News’ Ali Vetnar contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)...
KTAR.com

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Nov. 26-28

Phoenix on Sunday having its first sub-50 degree low since March is among the biggest Arizona stories of the weekend.
1 day ago
(Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix temperature hits sub-50 for the first time since spring

Turn the heater on and get those fuzzy socks out-- Winter is approaching as some Valley residents saw some chilly temperatures Sunday morning.
1 day ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police investigating death of woman following single-vehicle car crash

Phoenix police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman following a single-vehicle car accident early Sunday, authorities said.
1 day ago
Syringes with the vaccine Comirnaty of Pfizer against the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease stan...
KTAR.com

Arizona reports 2,274 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths on Sunday

Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 2,274 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths.
1 day ago
The 34th annual APS Electric Light Parade returns Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. (APS Electric Light Pa...
KTAR.com

Electric Light Parade returns to central Phoenix on Saturday

The central Phoenix night will be lit up with holiday colors Saturday during the annual APS Electric Light Parade.
1 day ago
(Over Easy Photo)...
KTAR.com

Tired of turkey? Here are some Valley spots for National French Toast Day

Tired of turkey? Besides being Thanksgiving, Thursday is also National French Toast Day. Here are some Valley spots that offer the breakfast delight.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
(Facebook Photo/NHTSA)...
Sweet James

Upcoming holiday season is peak time for DUI arrests

The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. That’s why it’s important to remember to call Sweet James Accident Attorneys if you’re injured or arrested because of a DUI accident.
...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
Report: Arizona voter database hacked by criminals in 2016, not Russia