State technology officers: No attempted hack on state election system

Homeland Security reverses Friday announcement
State technology officers: No attempted hack on state election system

Wisconsin technology officials say there was no attempted hack on the state’s voting systems, despite an announcement by the Department of Homeland Security Friday indicating otherwise.

That was the message at the agency’s Tuesday meeting, where commissioners addressed whether Russian actors had attempted to access Wisconsin’s voting systems. The Department of Homeland Security made that announcement Friday, saying there was no breach or compromise of Wisconsin’s data, but said Russian hackers had scanned Wisconsin’s internet-connected election equipment looking for vulnerabilities.

Chief information officer for Division of Enterprise Technology David Cagigal said there was “scanning” of an anonymous IP address in late summer on the state’s Department of Workforce Development, not any election system.

An email from Homeland Security sent late Tuesday morning confirmed that message from Wisconsin’s technology officers, saying the attempt appeared to be on the state’s Department of Workforce Development.

Cagigal shed more light on the “scan,” comparing that incident to someone knocking at the door and trying the doorknob of a locked house. Cagigal said that “door knock” of sorts was blocked immediately, months before the October warning from the Department of Homeland Security.

Commission chairman Mark Thomsen apologized for the late notice at the meeting .

A spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission says Russian hackers may have been trying to access the state voter registration database but scanned one belonging to another state agency by mistake, according to AP.