News - CNN

Russian Hackers Tried Altering US Election Data. Now What?

| June 15, 2017


"CNN: According to the recent Bloomberg report, Russian hackers tried -- but failed -- to alter data from the US election in 39 states. How surprised are you? If not, why not?

Sulmeyer: I am not surprised by recent reports that Russian hackers assumed a far more aggressive approach to manipulating the 2016 US election. First, phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the hacker book. The reality is that as a technique to gain access to data and to systems, it's cheap, easy to do, and often successful. Second, Russia's posture towards Western Europe, and US interests more broadly, has become increasingly hostile over the last several years. Finally, Russia has not paid much of a price for this hostility, so its leaders likely believed that the costs of getting caught attempting to manipulate our election would be low.

CNN: Given the number of intrusions, how is it that no votes were affected? Or do you not buy that assertion?

Sulmeyer: The key breakdown probably goes something like this: how many systems, networks, and databases were targeted? Of that number, how many systems, networks, and databases did the hackers successfully gain access to? Of that number, how many did the Russians try to change (delete, modify data, etc.)? Of that number, how many were successfully altered by the hackers? By that logic, there's a narrowing down from the attempted number of intrusions to changing data. I am also not sure what kind of evidence would be sufficient to prove the negative: that no votes were affected..."

For more information on this publication: Please contact Cyber Security Project
For Academic Citation:Russian Hackers Tried Altering US Election Data. Now What?.” News, CNN, June 15, 2017.