FLORIDA GOV CONFIRMS ELECTION HACKING
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Tuesday that Russian hackers successfully gained access to voter data in two counties during the 2016 presidential election.
DeSantis’s remarks come after he met with representatives from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about Moscow’s 2016 cyber efforts in his state, a briefing that came weeks after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report about interference in the election.
“As many of you know, I recently met with the FBI concerning the election issue mentioned in the Mueller report,” DeSantis said during a press conference.
“Two Florida counties experienced intrusion into the Supervisor of Election networks. There was no manipulation or anything, but there was voter data that [hackers were] able to get. Now, that voter data was public anyways. Nevertheless, those were intrusions. It did not affect any voting or anything like that,” he continued.
What Mueller said: Mueller wrote in his report that his office accepted the FBI’s assessment that the GRU, Russia’s intelligence service, gained “access to the network of at least one Florida county government.”
According to the Mueller report, the GRU operatives sent “spearphishing emails to over 120 email accounts used by Florida county officials responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. election.” The emails included an attached Word document that had malware coded into it, which allowed the Russian hackers to infect the computers if the attachment was opened.
Mueller noted that his office “did not independently verify” the assessment of the hack from the FBI, which took the lead on the intrusion investigation.
What we don’t know: DeSantis said the FBI was working with the two counties at the time, and that county officials knew about the intrusion prior to the 2016 election.
He declined, however, to identify the counties, noting that he had “signed a disclosure agreement.”
“I’m not allowed to name the counties,” DeSantis said.