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Florida’s Republican Governor Confirms Russians Hacked Two Voter Databases


Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed during a Tuesday press conference that Russian hackers gained access to voter databases in two Florida counties prior to the 2016 presidential election. The Tuesday presser was held after DeSantis and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were briefed on the hacks by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security last Friday.

According to DeSantis, the hackers gained access to the databases using spear-phishing emails, the same way hackers were able to gain access to John Podesta’s emails in during the 2016 presidential campaign. Spear-phishing targets specific groups or individuals with emails designed to look as though they’re from a person or business you normally interact with and contain a link which, if clicked, will allow the sender to access and exploit the computer and accompanying network.

Despite gaining access to the two voter registration databases, DeSantis said that the hackers did not manipulate any voting data and the election results were not compromised in any way. The governor was unable to disclose the names of the counties that were infiltrated due to an agreement signed with the FBI, but did note that election officials in those counties were made aware of the situation.

Confirmation of multiple hacks to Florida’s voting database comes on the heels of last month’s New York Times report that similar malicious spear-phishing emails were sent to 120 election official’s email accounts in Florida.

Although the hackers did not appear to corrupt any of the voting data they accessed, that may not have been their ultimate goal. Last month, FBI director Christopher Wray told the Council on Foreign Relations that he believes, “our adversaries are going to keep adapting and upping their game,” adding that they’re viewing past foreign interference as “more of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020.”

[image via Fox News]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.