In a news release Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security reported that while there was evidence of repeated attempts to compromise U.S. election systems, so far U.S. officials had been successful in thwarting these attempts in 2018.
Were the agencies prepared to defend against attacks?
While the agencies noted that the possibility of a cyberattack to compromise U.S. election systems was a real threat, they concluded that U.S. agencies were prepared to adequately defend against these attacks.
The four agencies said that they were “concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran, to undermine confidence in democratic institutions.”
The news release called these attempts at foreign interference a “threat to our democracy” and said that “identifying and preventing this interference is a top priority of the Federal Government.”
According to the news release:
Currently, we do not have any evidence of a compromise or disruption of infrastructure that would enable adversaries to prevent voting, change vote counts or disrupt our ability to tally votes in the midterm elections. Increased intelligence and information sharing among federal, state and local partners has improved our awareness of ongoing and persistent threats to election infrastructure. Some state and local governments have reported attempts to access their networks, which often include online voter registration databases, using tactics that are available to state and non-state cyber actors. Thus far, state and local officials have been able to prevent access or quickly mitigate these attempts.
This report comes just three months after the largest voting machine vendor in the United States admitted that its systems were susceptible to remote attacks.
In July, a federal grand jury for the District of Columbia indicted 12 Russians on charges related to attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Foreign attempts at interference in U.S. elections are not new. In January, then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that Russia and other foreign powers had been trying to influence U.S. elections “for decades.”
The U.S. midterm elections are set for Nov. 6.