Russian attackers took control of voter databases in 2 Florida counties before the 2016 presidential elections, claimed Ron DeSantis (Florida Gov.), after a briefing with the FBI earlier this week.
As per DeSantis, the attackers were capable of accessing the databases by conveying spearfishing mails to county workers. These links had malware that gave the military intelligence unit of Russia GRU access to voter registration data once they were opened.
The names of the impacted counties were not announced formally, but DeSantis claimed that the election employees and officials from those counties have been informed.
The media claimed previous month that these malicious mails were conveyed to 120 elections mail accounts all over the state of Florida soon after the launch of report by Mueller (former Special Counsel) on Russian meddling in the elections of 2016. The report earlier verified that minimum one county had been subjected to the hacking campaign of GRU.
As per Mueller’s report, “these bad actors were in a position to delete or alter voter registration info.” This week, on the other hand, DeSantis claimed that the attackers did not change election results or any of the data.
On a related note, this week, the US DOJ (Department of Justice) accused 7 Russian executives of GRU with hacking agencies, including doping organizations. These accusations are not linked to investigation by Mueller into Russian activity at the time of the US election in 2016. Rather, they are connected to the state-backed doping project that saw athletes of Russia prohibited from the 2018 Olympics.
The 7 executives are blamed of stealing sensitive & private information, hacking, and publishing it as retaliation. The hacking campaign for Olympics aimed at 250 athletes from 30 nations, along with international and US anti-doping organizations. The athletes were particularly targeted since they spoke out in opposition to the Russian state-backed doping project.