Russian hackers breached U.S. voting software firm, top-secret report suggests

Tuesday, 06 Jun, 2017

The document outlines new details about alleged hacking efforts by the Russian military's Main Intelligence Agency - or GRU - in August against a voting-related software vendor, and another that targeted 122 local voting officials a few days before the USA election in November.

The Intercept notes the document is dated May 5, 2017, and states, "Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors ... executed cyber espionage operations against a named USA company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions".

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor with Pluribus International Corporation, was charged with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.

The NSA did not conclude whether the hackers had any effect on the outcome, The Intercept said.

The dossier claims that on August 24, 2016, elements from the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) began a spear-phishing attack against companies that supply United States election systems.

A United States official confirmed to CNN that The Intercept's document is a genuine, classified NSA document.

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US intelligence already has determined that Russian Federation hacked into Democratic Party emails and leaked embarrassing information to WikiLeaks in an apparent effort to help Republican Donald Trump win the presidential election over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The hackers are believed to have then used data from that operation to create a new email account to launch a spear-phishing campaign targeting US local government organizations, the document said.

Victor was arrested by the FBI at her home on Saturday, June 3, and appeared in federal court in Augusta this afternoon. The complaint states an internal audit showed that victor was one of six people who printed the document, but she was the only one who had email contact with the news outlet.

The Intercept said that the agency, Washington's most important signals intelligence body, sought first to dissuade them from publishing it, and then requested redactions. But it is "unknown whether the aforementioned spear-phishing deployment successfully compromised all the intended victims, and what potential data from the victim could have been exfiltrated", the NSA report said. Winner's court-appointed attorney, Titus Nichols, said a detention hearing will take place on Thursday in Augusta, where the judge will determine whether to release her on bond. The report is dated May 5, and one part says it was based on information that became available in April. "She is a very good person". Approximately a few days later, victor unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet. Investigators determined she was one of only six individuals to print the document in question and that she had exchanged emails with the news outlet, according to the indictment.

Victor remains in jail pending a detention hearing later this week, said the lawyer, adding that he expects the government will seek to keep her behind bars pending trial.

Rosenstein helped prosecute one of them, a case against James E. Cartwright, a retired four-star Marine general and a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff accused of disclosing classified information to reporters.