Despite a November announcement that President Barack Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that DHS had found no evidence of a significant cyberattack on Election Day, at least one state has indeed found evidence of hacking — by the DHS.
On Thursday, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp issued a letter to Johnson seeking an explanation for why the DHS “tried to breach his office’s firewall,” according to Cyberscoop. Kemp’s office oversees elections in Georgia.
A third-party cybersecurity contractor in Georgia’s employ told the state that it had detected the unsuccessful Nov. 15 hack attempt and traced it back to the Southwest D.C. office of DHS.
“At no time has my office agreed to or permitted DHS to conduct penetration testing or security scans of our network,” Kemp’s letter read. “Moreover, your department has not contacted my office since this unsuccessful incident to alert us of any security event that would require testing or scanning of our network.
“This is especially odd and concerning since I serve on the Election Cyber Security Working Group that your office created,” he added.
A DHS spokesperson confirmed to Cyberscoop that the department had received Kemp’s letter and would be responding after investigating the matter.
Georgia had previously refused DHS support after the department pushed states to accept help in the wake of the Democrat National Committee hack that embarrassed so many on the left.
Kemp told Politico in August that DHS’s concerns about hacking were out of proportion to the actual threat.
Administration officials “now think our whole system is on the verge of disaster because some Russian’s going to tap into the voting system,” he said then.
Kemp “got a lot of grief” for that decision, according to Kemp’s chief of staff, David Dove.
“We basically said we don’t need DHS’s help,” Dove said, pointing to the assistance the state already received from an unidentified third-party provider.
Kemp and others had warned about the Obama administration essentially federalizing elections in the name of security, Politico reported, casting an even more ominous light onto the news of this hacking attempt.
At the very least, it looks like maybe the DHS didn’t like taking no for an answer.
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