Iranian hackers are apparently finding success in creating a pain for cybersecurity as the U.S. presidential election nears. The hackers reportedly targeted state government websites in “an intentional effort to influence and interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election,” according to an investigation by the FBI and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
There is no evidence to this point of databases being altered or any votes changed. The agencies said this effort was from the same Iranians who sent faked, threatening emails targeting Democratic voters earlier this month.
The hackers have “successfully obtained voter registration data in at least one state,” the FBI and CISA advisory report published Friday said.
The election season has been turbulent, with mail-in voting targeted – by President Trump and others – as potentially illegitimate, as stats show this election will have record turnout, especially in the mail-in ballot category due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warned Americans earlier this month in a joint statement: “Our adversaries seek to sow chaos and undermine voters’ belief in our Democratic institutions … “We urge every American – including members of the media – to be cautious about believing or spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting.”
The FBI released its own flash bulletin in coordination with CISA and the Department of Homeland Security alleging that Iranian “advanced persistent threat” actors “are creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression.”
Also in the CISA report were references to a disinformation video aimed to give the impression that people could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas. “This video and any claims about such allegedly fraudulent ballots are not true,” Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in an Oct. 21 news conference.