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DHS officials: 21 states potentially targeted by Russia hackers pre-election

Author: Tal Kopan / Source: CNN

Ex-DHS Chief testifies on Russia meddling 02:40

(CNN)Russian government-linked hackers potentially targeted as many as 21 states’ election systems last year, a Homeland Security official warned Congress on Wednesday.

DHS’ acting Director of Cyber Division of the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Samuel Liles, said that by late September the intelligence community concluded that 21 states “were potentially targeted by Russian government-linked cyber actors” with scanning of Internet-connected election systems. Liles did not specify which 21 states he was referring to.

The comments came during a hearing of DHS and FBI cybersecurity officials before the Senate intelligence committee.

House Russia probe digs into voter roll hacks with former DHS secretary

Liles said of the 21, a small number were attempted for an intrusion unsuccessfully, “as if someone rattled the door knob and was unable to get in,” and in a small number “they made it through the door.”

But Liles said the intelligence community concluded that a variety of factors “made it likely that cyber manipulation of the US election system designed to change the outcome of the US election would be detected.”

A second DHS official, Acting Director of Undersecretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate Jeanette Manfra, backed up Liles’ testimony.

“We have evidence of … election-related systems…

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