Russian hackers targeted Washington election systems, Homeland Security confirms

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said when her office discovered suspicious IP addresses last year, they had a “high suspicion” the addresses belonged to Russian hackers.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed those suspicions today when representatives officially notified Wyman that Russian hackers attempted — but failed — to access state election systems prior to the 2016 general election.

“What they confirmed was what we already knew … Russian hackers were scanning for vulnerabilities in our system,” Wyman said during an interview at the Bellevue Reporter office when the news broke, adding that the election systems have been in operation since 2008.

The state’s chief elections officer said when they first discovered the IP addresses, her office notified the FBI. Homeland Security officials said 21 states had been targets of Russian hackers, but couldn’t confirm if Washington was one of those states until today.

“We were confident that they hadn’t gotten through the firewall,” Wyman noted.

She said her office has a big job to do.

“Like anyone on the internet, the biggest challenge is we have to get it right 24/7, 365 days a year,” she said. “A hacker only has to get it right once.”

However, her office is “doing everything we can, utilizing the latest software, best practices and security measures, to keep Washington’s elections safe, reliable and accessible to our citizens,” Wyman said in a press release.

More details about the state’s election system security measures can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.wa.gov/elections/System-Security.aspx.

Staff writer Nicole Jennings contributed to this report.

More in News

Vader served the Redmond Police Department for more than seven years and enjoyed a four-year retirement as the Hovenden family pet. Photos courtesy of RPD
Former Redmond police K-9 Vader, dies at 13

Vader served the department for more than 7 years and spent his retirement as a full-time family pet.

Sarah Yount, former YES client, speaks at YES’s 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 2. Madison Miller/staff photo.
Youth Eastside Services celebrates 50 years

YES celebrates 50 years of providing youth and family behavioral health services.

Sky Metalwala has been missing for seven years. Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Police plead for help in search for missing boy

Sky has been missing since Nov. 6, 2011 and turned 9 years old on Sept. 2.

Suspect arrested after stealing paychecks | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter from Oct. 22 through 24. Courtesy of the RPD blog.

Kuderer leads Tom; Walen over Bright

Legislative District 48 race. Results are preliminary.

Democrats lead in 45th Legislative District

Dhingra, Goodman and Springer earned about two thirds of the vote.

DelBene leads in 1st Congressional District in early returns

As of election night, incumbent Suzan DelBene was leading with 69 percent of the vote, to Jeffrey Beeler’s 31 percent.

Marcus Naylor and Joshua Schaer.
                                Marcus Naylor and Joshua Schaer.
Naylor leads Eastside judicial race

Results are preliminary.

King County property assessments have begun for some Eastside neighborhoods

County property appraisers visit around one-sixth of all properties in the county each year to ensure the homes are valued correctly.

From left: Samantha Areliz (VALA curator), Marisa Mouton Provo (VALA Communication Director) and Zachary Burns (artist) look upon the Gatesville exhibit at the new VALA Eastside in Kirkland. Madison Miller/staff photo.
VALA Arts moves to Kirkland; changes name to VALA Eastside

VALA Eastside makes Kirkland its permanent home.

Upcoming shelter for women and families offers hope to Eastside

The city of Kirkland anticipates the shelter for families and women to be completed in 2020.

PSE natural gas bills will be lower this winter

This is the lowest rates the utility has provided since 2004.