In an interview with NBC News, head of cybersecurity at the US Department of Homeland Security Jeanette Manfra revealed that Russia targeted the voter registration systems of several US states ahead of the 2016 election. A small number of those were successfully penetrated, she explained.


Illustration Photo Credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90

Jeanette Manfra, the US official overseeing cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, said that Russia has targeted the voter registration systems of 21 US states ahead of the 2016 election. In an interview with NBC News published on Thursday, Manfra explained that several of the systems were successfully hacked.

“We saw a targeting of 21 states,” she explained. “An exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.” NBC News said on Thursday that it had reached out to officials of the 21 states that were targeted. Five of those said they were not attacked.

On Tuesday, US State Secretary Rex Tillerson said in an interview with Fox News that Russia appeared to have already attempted interfering in the upcoming 2018 midterm congressional election. He also added there was evidence of Russian interference attempts in elections that have occurred in Europe.

When asked whether the US was better prepared to thwart such attacks, Tillerson replied that if Russia intends to interfere, “they’re going to find ways to do that.” The State Secretary added that “this is something that once they decide they’re going to do it, it’s very difficult to preempt it.”

Last month, Twitter has revealed to US Congress that thousands of Russian-affiliated automated accounts retweeted US President Donald Trump nearly half a million times in the weeks prior to the 2016 presidential election. The data was released as part of the ongoing probe into the alleged Russian interference in the election.