The problems with an app that was to be used to tally and report results in Iowa's caucuses do not appear to have come from a hacking attack or other malicious cyber activity, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Tuesday morning, while also confirming a report that the DHS' cybersecurity unit had offered to vet the app, but was turned down.
"Nobody hacked into it," Wolf told Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "This is a stress or load issue, as well as a reporting issue that we have seen in Iowa."
The Wall Street Journal, quoting only people familiar with the matter, reported Tuesday that the DHS's cybersecurity unit offered to conduct security testing on the app, but the Iowa Democratic Party declined their outreach.
"Our cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency had offered to test that app, from a hacking perspective," Wolf told Fox News. "They declined, and so we are seeing a couple of issues with it. I would say right now, we don't see any malicious cyber activity."
Meanwhile, as the primary season begins, Wolf said the nation's election systems are "more secure than we have ever been."
"We are even more secure than (in) 2016," said Wolf. "We are continuing to build and learn the lessons that we have done. I would say we are going to have folks on site as we did in Iowa. We have election war rooms from the department."
The app being used in Iowa was built by a small Washington, D.C., company, Shadow Inc., which is connected to progressive digital strategy firm Acronym, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
According to state records, the Iowa Democratic Party spent just over $63,000 in payments made in November and December to Shadow, which describes itself as the maker of “affordable and easy-to-use tools” for progressives. Initially, the party did not disclose the app's creator or to allow it to undergo security testing, prompting critics to voice concerns about its safety.
Meanwhile, the Iowa Democratic Party is defending its plan. Officials said in January they were confident in the system's security, and if there were mistakes, paper ballots would allow them to be corrected.
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