Russian agents 'hacked US voting software manufacturer', says report

Leaked NSA documents claim IT company was attacked weeks before US presidential election

(Image credit: 2008 AFP)

Russian intelligence services have been accused of hacking a US voting systems manufacturer merely weeks before the 2016 presidential election, claims security news website The Intercept.

Citing a top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) document leaked to the site, The Intercept says Moscow attacked at least one voting software manufacturer and used a separate "spear-phishing" attack on more than 100 local election officials.

It adds: "Although the document does not directly identify the company in question, it contains references to a product made by VR Systems, a Florida-based vendor of electronic voting services and equipment whose products are used in eight states.

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"The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into US voting systems than was previously understood."

It also makes clear the NSA "is convinced that the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate was responsible for interfering in the 2016 presidential election", despite denials from Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Guardian says.

News of the leaked report came as the US Justice Department announced the arrest of a federal contractor with top-secret clearance.

"Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor, [was charged] with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet," NBC News says.

Officials from the Justice Department said Winner "admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence", before "removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet".

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