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Russia Launched Cyberattack On Voting Vendor Ahead Of Election

06 June 2017

A newly released classified document says Russian hackers attacked at least one US voting software supplier days before last year's presidential election.

A federal contractor with top security clearance faces charges after allegedly leaking classified information to an online media outlet, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Russian hackers used phishing emails in an attempt to compromise USA election officials, says an NSA report. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed US government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.

"As we reported in the story, the NSA document was provided to us anonymously", Vivian Siu, the Intercept's director of Communications, told VICE News in an email.

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia, is accused of "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet", according to a federal complaint.

The US Justice Department said on Monday (5 June) that victor was a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation and was assigned to a US government agency facility in Georgia.

In late October, the hackers set up a Gmail account that appeared to be from an employee at VR Systems and launched a spear-phishing attack in the days following against local government organizations, The Intercept reports.

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Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin's denied that the Kremlin interfered.

According to the document, the NSA compiled its report based on evidence it received in April this year.

The Intercept said that the agency, Washington's most important signals intelligence body, sought first to dissuade them from publishing it, and then requested redactions. They successfully gained access to "elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards", according to the document.

"Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation's security and undermines public faith in government", Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement announcing the charges against victor. "All this craziness has happened all of a sudden".

While the criminal complaint doesn't identify the government agency, the news outlet, or the report victor allegedly leaked, it does reveal that the report was published May 5, 2017. Federal authorities said she printed out a copy of the report and mailed it to The Intercept.

"Approximately a few days later, victor unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet", the Justice Department continued, adding that victor admitted printing the document following her arrest.

Asked if victor had confessed, Nichols said, "If there is a confession, the government has not shown it to me". Investigation into the six people involved in printing that document revealed victor had been in contact with The Intercept around the time it changed hands.