Report suggests Russia hackers breached voting software firm
- Author: Michelle Webb Jun 06, 2017,
Jun 06, 2017, 5:35
But it says Russian military intelligence attacked a US voting software company and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials at the end of October or beginning of November.
Russian government hackers within the country's intelligence service masqueraded as an e-voting vendor in an email to trick local USA government employees into opening documents that were "invisibly tainted with potent malware", The Intercept reports.
The Department of Justice on Monday announced that it had filed charges against a government contractor named Reality Winner for providing a news outlet with a classified document.
The story published Monday features a secret NSA document that notes efforts by the Russian government to hack into a voting software company approximately a week before the election.
Operatives from the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, are said to have targeted employees at a U.S. election software company last August and then again in October.
NBC News is reporting that the document victor is alleged to have leaked was published by The Intercept on Monday.
The online news outlet said the NSA report depicted a hacking operation tied closely to Moscow's GRU intelligence directorate that targeted private United States companies providing voter registration services and equipment to local governments around the country. ".The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to.launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organisations". "Authorities zeroed in on victor because she was the only one who had been in email contact with the news organization, according to the affidavit". 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. For example, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 disclosed secret documents to journalists, including The Intercept's Greenwald, that revealed broad US surveillance programs.
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The NSA did not immediately reply to requests for comment on the report.
Winner's lawyer, Titus Nichols, said he had not yet seen any of the evidence in the case, so he could not discuss the specific accusations.
Victor was working as a contractor for Pluribus International, and is accused of having given the document in question to The Intercept. "She is a very good person".
An internal audit revealed victor was one of six people who printed the document, but the only one who had email contact with the news outlet, according to the complaint.
The Department of Justice has charged a government contractor in Georgia with leaking classified information to a news outlet, according to a statement from the department.
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.