Report suggests Russian Federation hackers breached voting software firm

Posted June 06, 2017

A newly released classified document says Russian hackers attacked at least one USA voting software supplier days before last year's presidential election.

"Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors.executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions", the report states.

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.

While the charges do not name the publication, a USA official with knowledge of the case said victor was charged with leaking the NSA report to The Intercept.

Operatives from the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, are said to have targeted employees at a United States election software company last August and then again in October.

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The Associated Press could not confirm the authenticity of the May 5 NSA document, which The Intercept said it obtained anonymously.

A government contractor in Georgia has been charged in federal court with leaking a classified report containing top-secret information to a news organization.

In late October, the hackers set up a Gmail account that appeared to be from an employee at VR Systems and launched a spear-phishing attack in the days following against local government organizations, The Intercept reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denies any Russian government hackers interfered with the U.S. election, insisting that it could have been the work of patriotic Russians, and most recently, a child.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russian Federation conducted a broad influence campaign for the objective of undermining Hillary Clinton's candidacy and sowing doubts about the democratic process if she had won. They successfully gained access to "elements of multiple USA state or local electoral boards", according to the document. 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. "She is a very good person".

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The company is working with law enforcement and a private security firm to investigate the hack, it said in a brief blog post. Staff were not aware of the breach until seven hours later at 9am PST and it was shut down within minutes.

Garrick's affidavit said he interviewed victor at her home Saturday and she "admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue" and mailing it to the news outlet.

Victor was arrested by the FBI at her home on Saturday, June 3, and appeared in federal court in Augusta this afternoon. Federal authorities said she printed out a copy of the report and mailed it to The Intercept.

The federal agency victor worked for first became aware of Winner's alleged leak after being contacted by the news outlet for comment.

"I think she's trying to be fearless for me", Billie Winner said.

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