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Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states, Senate concludes

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Not 21 or 39 states, as you might have previously heard

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by hackers linked to the Russian government, according to a heavily redacted report released today.

In 2017, we’d heard 39 states, and the Department of Homeland Security officially admitted that 21 states had been targeted later that year. It was only this April that a joint report from DHS and the FBI indicated that Russian hackers may have tried to probe every single U.S. state’s election infrastructure for flaws.

Because the relevant sections of today’s report are mostly blacked out, it’s not clear how sure the Senate Intelligence Committee is that Russia probed every state, or what the evidence might be. But it does say that some unnamed intelligence gathered in 2018 backed up earlier assumptions by National Security Council cyber coordinator Michael Daniel, and the DHS, that every state was hacked.

And — as previously reported — the report says that Russia could have actually tampered with election systems if it wanted to. “Russian cyber actors were in a position to delete or change voter data,” the report reads.

As of this document, the US government still doesn’t have any proof that Russia actually did tamper with any voter data, nor is there proof that hackers accessed actual voting machines. Russian hackers appear to have targeted voter registration systems and voting databases. But that doesn’t mean our voting machines aren’t vulnerable, too, and the Mueller report suggests that voting machine companies were also targeted by Russia’s GRU.

You can read the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report (well, the unredacted parts) below.