WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) — The Obama administration on Friday accused Russia of a series of hacks into campaign and other computer systems as a way of affecting the American presidential election.
The Russian government directed recent compromises of emails from United States citizens, institutions and political organizations, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Officials say the recent disclosure of stolen email and personal information, including private email addresses and cell phone numbers of Democratic lawmakers, are consistent with “methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.”
“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the agencies said in the statement.
The FBI has been investigating hacks into the Democratic National Committee’s servers since July, with the DHS and DNI officials now saying they resemble efforts of Russia in Europe and Eurasia to influence public opinion there.
Several states have reported scanning and probing of election-related systems recently, which was linked to a Russian company, but not the government. The decentralized nature of the American national election system, as well as protections of state and local election officials, should, however, prevent interference in actual ballot counts or election results, the agencies said.
“Nevertheless, DHS continues to urge state and local election officials to be vigilant and seek cybersecurity assistance from DHS,” including risk assessments, information sharing and “hygiene” scans of computer systems, the agencies said.