Tags: Cyber Security | Russia Probe | florida | hacking | gru | elections | database

WashPost: Fla.'s Washington County, Pop. 25K, Hacked in '16

rick scott stands and listens to a reporter's question at the white house
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

By    |   Friday, 17 May 2019 07:11 AM

Florida's Washington County, in which 77% of the vote went to President Donald Trump in 2016, according to Politico, was one of two counties in the state whose election database was hacked by Russia, The Washington Post reported.

The report cited two anonymous government officials for revealing the breach of the elections database by the GRU, Russia's military spy agency, in the small Florida panhandle county with a population of 25,000. The revelations were a part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the election.

While investigators found "no evidence" of data or vote tampering in the hack, they could not offer any guarantees, so voter eligibility data or absentee ballot requests were at risk, according to Fox 35 Orlando.

"We couldn't get with certainty verification that the Russians were not able to manipulate the data that they had access to," Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., told the Post.

Then-Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner is "prohibited by law from commenting" on the report.

"The citizens deserve and have a right to know important things with regard to their election security," he told the Post. "Over time, it'll come out."

The FBI had confirmed two voter databases in Florida were hacked before the 2016 election, but has withheld the classified information from the public. The other county hacked has not yet been revealed.

"It is untenable to continue to hold this information classified and not to let the public know," Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., told the Post. "This chaotic, drib drab of information that is coming out is doing more harm to constituents' faith in our electoral system."

Washington County Elections Supervisor Carol F. Rudd declined to comment on the breach to the Post, but did say in an email even the fear of confidentiality is a "big win for the Russians going into 2020."

"If each agency gets suspicious of the other's ability to follow the rules of confidentiality, then those tenuous lines of communication quickly break down," she emailed the Post. "That would set our security capabilities back years and severely compromise our ability to protect our elections. THAT would be a big win for the Russians going into 2020.

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Florida's Washington County was one of two counties in the state whose election database was hacked by Russia, The Washington Post reported.
florida, hacking, gru, elections, database
Friday, 17 May 2019 07:11 AM
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