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FBI says hackers haven’t stolen any U.S. voter data this year

September 1, 2020, 9:43 PM UTC

Federal cybersecurity experts on Tuesday tried to reassure U.S. voters that no election systems have been breached by hackers this year.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI, in a joint statement, said they “have not seen cyber attacks this year on voter registration databases or on any systems involving voting.”

The statement followed chatter on social media this week about some voter information allegedly being offered for sale by hackers. The statement also comes after the Trump administration decided to cancel previously scheduled in-person briefings for members of Congress about election security and foreign interference. And in 2016, Russian hackers attacked election systems in all 50 states and even tried to delete and alter voter data.

But the CISA and FBI said that hasn’t happened in 2020, at least not yet. “Early, unverified claims should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism,” the agencies noted. “More importantly, we encourage voters to look to trusted sources of info, in this case state election officials who have correctly pointed out that a lot of voter registration data is publicly available or easily purchased.”

Security experts said earlier reports about hacked or leaked voter data turning up on the Dark Web, where criminals regularly trade illicit material, likely emanated from publicly available voter data. The U.S. State Department has been offering cash rewards for evidence of foreign interference in the election. Thus some hackers may have obtained public information and tried to claim the rewards, they said.

Because the rumors mentioned voter data from Michigan, the office of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson also denied that any information had been stolen.

“Our system has not been hacked,” a spokeswoman for Benson told the Detroit News. “We encourage all Michigan voters to be wary of attempts to ‘hack’ their minds, however, by questioning the sources of information and advertisements they encounter and seeking out trusted sources, including their local election clerk and our office.”