Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman speaks with Sound Publishing staff during an interview on Friday at the Bellevue Reporter office. Carrie Rodriguez/staff photo Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman speaks with Sound Publishing staff during an interview on Friday at the Bellevue Reporter office. Carrie Rodriguez/staff photo

Russian Hackers Targeted Washington State Election Systems

Homeland Security confirmed what the Secretary of State already knew.

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 the Bellevue Reporter office when the news broke, adding that the election systems have been in operation since 2008.

The state’s chief elections officer said that 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.

news@seattleweekly.com

This story first ran in the Bellevue Reporter. Nicole Jennings contributed to this report.

More in News & Comment

This petroleum refinery in Anacortes is run by Shell, one of the defendants in the suit brought by King County. Photo by Walter Siegmund/Wikipedia Commons
Can King County Win Its Lawsuit Against Big Oil?

Legal experts think past lawsuits against the tobacco industry increase the odds for a favorable outcome.

Beth Knowles is the Mayoral Lead for Homelessness and Rough Sleeping at Greater Manchester Mayor’s Office. Photo by Candace Doyal
Beth Knowles Discusses the U.K. Tackling Homelessness Through Art

During her Seattle visit, the head of Manchester’s homelessness task force talked about creative solutions to the global problem.

Kokanee salmon in Ebright Creek. U.S. Department of the Interior
Low Numbers of Lake Sammamish Kokanee Raise Fears of Extinction

Only 19 kokanee salmon returned to spawn this year.

Photo courtesy King County Elections
Governor and Secretary of State to Fund Statewide Prepaid Ballot Postage

King County, however, won’t get any of that money.

The Neighborhood Action Coalition and Transit Riders Union projected its support of the head tax on May 10, 2018. Photo by Jennifer Durham/Flickr
Seattle City Council Passes Reduced Head Tax

The measure decreases the original proposal by 45 percent, leaving some to question if it’ll raise enough to properly address homelessness.

Illustration by James the Stanton
How Many Drug-Sniffing Dogs Will Be Killed By Cannabis Legalization?

Spoiler: None. It just turns out an Illinois police department is full of doggone liars.

Participants at the FullConTech on May 8, 2018. Photo courtesy of Tyler Sipe
Finding a Diverse Space for Tech and Public Sectors to Converge

Through conferences and collaboration, Washington Technology Industry Association aims to foster unity and better business practices.

Photo by Miguel Vieira/Flickr
Olympic National Park Goat Management Plan Includes Lethal Removal

Animal rights organizations oppose killing non-relocated goats, but officials say it will be a last resort.

Most Read