Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman speaks with Sound Publishing staff during an interview on Friday at a Reporter Newspapers office. Carrie Rodriguez, Reporter Newspapers

Russian hackers targeted Washington election systems, Homeland Security confirms

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said when her office discovered suspicious IP addresses last year, they had a “high suspicion” the addresses belonged to Russian hackers.

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed those suspicions today when representatives officially notified Wyman that Russian hackers attempted — but failed — to access state election systems prior to the 2016 general election.

“What they confirmed was what we already knew … Russian hackers were scanning for vulnerabilities in our system,” Wyman said during an interview at a Reporter Newspapers office in Bellevue when the news broke, adding that the election systems have been in operation since 2008.

The state’s chief elections officer said when they first discovered the IP addresses, her office notified the FBI. Homeland Security officials said 21 states had been targets of Russian hackers, but couldn’t confirm if Washington was one of those states until today.

“We were confident that they hadn’t gotten through the firewall,” Wyman noted.

She said her office has a big job to do.

“Like anyone on the internet, the biggest challenge is we have to get it right 24/7, 365 days a year,” she said. “A hacker only has to get it right once.”

However, her office is “doing everything we can, utilizing the latest software, best practices and security measures, to keep Washington’s elections safe, reliable and accessible to our citizens,” Wyman said in a press release.

More details about the state’s election system security measures can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.wa.gov/elections/System-Security.aspx.

Staff writer Nicole Jennings contributed to this report.

More in News

Reporter File Photo
Police seek man accused of ‘lewd act’

The act occurred at Edith Moulton Park by man in a black T-shirt, ball cap and sport shorts.

Numerous complaints against King County Sheriff’s deputies for issues like excessive force and improper search and seizure weren’t investigated due to internal misclassification, a new report says. Photo by Oran Viriyincy/Flickr
Report finds complaints against King County sheriff’s deputies weren’t investigated

An outside review says that allegations of excessive force and racially-biased policing weren’t pursued.

The Carlton Complex wildfire burned in north-central Washington state in 2014. Photo by Jason Kriess/Wikimedia Commons
King County burn ban now in effect

Other counties across the state have already enacted similar restrictions.

An example of a fish culvert that prevents fish from migrating through it. Creative commons
Fish culverts ruling will increase price tag for the state

The state will be on the line for $3.7 billion for fish culvert replacements.

SAATWA Board President Aseem Chipalkatti gives an opening speech to those who were in attendance Sunday afternoon. Hanson Lee/staff photo.
South Asian organizations look to take political action and advocacy to the next level

SAATWA and SAPAC are planning to push for political involvement and the political values of Washington’s South Asian community.

Police arrest Kingsgate shooting suspect

Kirkland and Kenmore police arrested a suspect in a non-injury shooting case that occurred on July 7

Kirkland to experiment with bike share

The program would provide new opportunities for transportation and recreation.

Rabid bat found near Woodinville

County health officials urge anyone who may have been exposed to the bat to seek treatment.

Suspect sexually assaults woman at a bar | Police blotter

The Kirkland police blotter for June 30 through July 5.

Most Read