The Russian Hack of the Election Was Worse Than We Thought

June 14, 2017 - 2 minutes read

Like most Americans, Chicago eHealth app developers have been watching with their mouths agape as the Russia investigation intensifies. With each new revelation, it seems more and more like the stuff of great fiction, or at least like the kind of conspiracy theory a kooky uncle would dream up. It would be entertaining if the implications for American democracy weren’t so horrifying.

The latest news to come to light only adds to the sense that our system of democracy is extremely vulnerable. Bloomberg reports that there is evidence that Russian hackers managed to infiltrate voting systems in 39 states last summer and fall. While we have long known about Russian hacking into the election, including the “spear phishing” of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign, the scale of the cyberattack was unclear until the release of this report. Government investigators were given access to the Illinois voter database, where they found signatures from Russian hackers that they then used to conduct a more thorough investigation. What these investigators found in Illinois should chill Chicago eHealth app developers: the Russians meddled with and even tried to delete voter data in software only meant to be accessed by poll workers.

That kind of interference went on in a majority of states. The Obama administration acted fast, warning Russia via a “red phone” channel built to calm cyberwarfare tensions and sending in special cybersecurity teams to bolster security in individual states. While there is no evidence that votes were changed in any way, the cyberattack does prove that the Russians now have intimate knowledge of our voting software. Now government officials and cybersecurity experts are eager to find new ways to protect our voting systems so that the Russians don’t try again with a more sophisticated and disruptive attack in 2020. Even without directly tampering with results, the Russians have succeeded into calling into question the integrity of our election. That’s enough to upset eHealth app developers across America.

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