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Election hacking went much deeper than thought: Voter data manipulated and stolen

One senior official claimed that 21 states had voter databases breached during the 2016 election.
Russian Hackers 2016 Presidential Election
Photo: Getty Images

Suggesting that the investigation into Russian hacking of U.S. voting systems has only just begun, officials said on Wednesday that the extent of the hacking was much deeper than originally reported: Russian hackers were able to obtain and change voter information – and steal tens of thousands of voter records, including social security numbers.

This follows a separate story earlier this week that the extent of the hacking was deeper than originally reported, so for those keeping score, this is deeper than that.

Time reported that an ongoing investigation found that voter data was manipulated in one local database, but found and corrected. It's unclear whether that was committed by Russian agents.

But Congressional investigators also found that in Illinois, 90,000 voter records were stolen by Russian hackers – 90 percent of them included driver's license numbers, with a quarter containing the last four digits of voters' social security numbers.

As part of the investigation into whether President Trump or his associates colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential campaign, the investigators are looking into whether that data made it to the Trump campaign.

“If any campaign, Trump or otherwise, used inappropriate data, the questions are, how did they get it? From whom? And with what level of knowledge?” said Michael Bahar, the former top Democratic staffer on the House Intelligence Committee. “That is a crux of the investigation."

A connection has not yet been found, Time reported.

In a Senate hearing this week, a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security said that 21 states had their voter databases breached by hackers during the 2016 election. 

None of the intrusions affected the vote totals, a number of officials said during the hearings.

Regardless of what more is found, the current revelations about hacking could have a pernicious, long-lasting result, officials said. “The integrity of the entire system is in question,” says Bahar. “So you need the system to push back and find out what happened and why, so it never happens again.”

 
 
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