Russian hackers reportedly breached the electoral systems of at least 39 states during the summer and fall of 2016 accessing software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day. 

The new number is nearly twice the amount of states previously reported. Investigators in Illinois found evidence suggesting the threat actors attempted to delete or alter voter data and at least one state hacker accessed a campaign finance database, three people close to the investigation told Bloomberg.

“The new details, buttressed by a classified National Security Agency document recently disclosed by the Intercept, show the scope of alleged hacking that federal investigators are scrutinising as they look into whether Trump campaign officials may have colluded in the efforts,” the publication said.

The information gathered from the Illinois breach sheds light on the tactics, techniques, and procedures behind those who are behind the attacks, Tripwire senior security research engineer Travis Smith said.

“In this instance, voter data was found in an internal database,” Smith said. “The attackers appear to have only gained read-only access to the database based off of a couple of indicators.  First, a contractor spotted unauthorised data (up to 90,000 voter records) leaving the network.  Second, attackers failed to alter and delete voter records on the database. 

The scope of the attacks were so broad that Obama administration took an unprecedented step and complained to Moscow over what was described as a modern-day “red phone.” Administration officials offered detailed documents to the Kremlin accusing Russia of the cyber-attacks and warned that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.

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