Cybersecurity

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, former chairman of the Governor's Cybersecurity Task Force, left, gestures in October of 2015 toward Mike Ressler, with the state ITD department, during a task force meeting at the state Capitol in Bismarck. The discussions revolved around cybersecurity insurance.

North Dakota election systems were targeted by hackers but not breached, according to a statement Monday from Secretary of State Al Jaeger.

North Dakota is among 21 states notified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Friday that hackers targeted their systems before last year’s presidential election.

Jaeger said systems were targeted in the summer of 2016.

“Security measures in place to protect these systems have proven to be effective, and we continue to update cybersecurity protections as new potential means of targeting are identified,” Jaeger said. “For security purposes and confidentiality requirements, our office is unable to comment on the nature of the attempt or the specific systems targeted.”

Jaeger declined to answer questions beyond issuing a three-sentence statement.

It is unclear what hackers would have been targeting. North Dakota does not have voter registration.

The federal government did not say who was behind the hacking attempts, but election officials in several states said the attempts were linked to Russia, the Associated Press reported.

In the majority of states, preparatory activity, such as scanning, was observed, according to a Department of Homeland security official. A small number of states had systems that were successfully compromised, the official said. None of the targeted systems were involved in the tallying of votes, the official said.

 

(Reach Amy Dalrymple at 701-250-8267 or Amy.Dalrymple@bismarcktribune.com)

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