Governor confirms two Florida counties were hacked in 2016 election

Published: May. 14, 2019 at 10:18 PM CDT
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A single sentence in the Mueller report has raised as many questions as it answered, saying, "The FBI suspected Russian military intelligence hackers were able to ‘gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government’ through a spear-phishing campaign.”

After meeting with the FBI in its Tallahassee office, the Governor confirmed it was not one but two counties.

“Two Florida counties experienced intrusion into the Supervisor of Election network. There was no manipulation or anything,” said DeSantis.

Which counties were hacked remains a mystery.

“I’m not allowed to name the counties. I signed a disclosure agreement,” said DeSantis.

But even the Governor believed the information should be made public.

“I think they think that if we named the counties, then that may reveal information to the perpetrators that we know kinda what they did,” he said.

The hack originated with an independent contractor who got an email and then forwarded it to elections supervisors around the state. At least 140 elections employees got the email.

Ron Labasky with the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections said supervisors are still confident in the voter registration system.

“To the extent that I have any involvement, yes,” said Labasky.

While the Governor said the FBI lauded Florida for being ahead of others in cybersecurity, he would not say the state won’t be hacked again.

“The threats evolved, so I don’t want to ever say there are no more threats,” said DeSantis.

Because actual voting machines are not online, it would be virtually impossible for hackers to tamper with vote totals.

DeSantis said both counties were notified about the hack prior to the 2016 election and worked with the FBI to eliminate the threat.

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