Colorado confirms suspected Russian hacker “jiggled the lock” on state voter database — but couldn’t get in |

Colorado confirms suspected Russian hacker “jiggled the lock” on state voter database — but couldn’t get in

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, center, attended a rally at the state Capitol on April 2, 2019. The Democrat is pushing for election changes in the final weeks of the legislative session.
Jesse Paul / The Colorado Sun

A computer linked to Russian hackers tried to access Colorado’s voter registration database ahead of the 2016 election, but the effort proved unsuccessful, state officials confirmed for the first time Friday.

The secretary of state’s office, which oversees elections, matched a suspicious Internet protocol address flagged by the Department of Homeland Security as a potential bad actor to one used in October 2016 to scan the state’s database for potential vulnerabilities.

Colorado officials reported the behavior to homeland security officials at the time, but assured federal authorities that no breach was detected. The state’s election system is considered one of the most secure in the nation.

“It was basically, they scanned our front door to see, ‘Are there any vulnerabilities?’” said Colorado election director Judd Choate in an interview with The Colorado Sun. He said the would-be hacker “jiggled the lock and made sure the door was solid and said, ‘OK, I can’t get into this one, so I’m going to move on to another one.’”

Colorado was identified in September 2017 as one of 21 states potentially targeted by hackers linked to Russia in the fall of 2016, but many of the details about the interaction remained classified until now. “It was certain at the time, but we couldn’t tell you that,” Choate said.

Read the full story on The Colorado Sun website.

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